Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lie - Ashley did Due Diligence

It's now widely accepted that Mike Ashley was so keen to buy Newcastle United that it was a deal done in days. So quickly that due diligence was a formality he could not wait for. He wanted the club no matter what. As much as people may have scoffed at such a foolish business decision, it's one that he proudly boasted of in his interview with the club magazine in August 2008.

"We first heard about the potential sale on a Saturday and had done the deal by the Wednesday, so if you are asking if we did due diligence before buying then the answer has to be no."
However, looking further back, it's not quite the story that was sold to us by original Chairman Chris Mort. A year earlier, in August 2007, he was quite clear that the new owner went into the deal with his eyes wide open.

"We did the typical due diligence one would do on a public takeover. There is no sense that anyone has tried to mislead us."
I don't know which story is true. But either
  1. They went into this with their eyes wide open as initially claimed but rather than turn it around in any way after 2 years in charge, they have still managed to increase the cost of running the club by over £14M (see the latest submitted accounts). This being the case shouldn't they share the blame?
  2. Or the original story was created to maintain a facade of professionalism, which crumbled under the enormity of the debt which has revealed the truth, in which case you have to seriously question the wisdom of the purchase in the first place, as well as wonder what other skeletons are in the closet.
Update - September 2017
 It's been confirmed here that Sports Direct registered the domain name nufcdirect.com 6 months earlier than Ashley bought the club?  This certainly suggests a more long winded build up to the purchase than the single weekend Ashley wants us to believe.