retail tycoon Mike Ashley is expected to take a stake of up to 10 per cent in the new Rangers football club in a deal that will also see him enter into a joint merchandising venture.
Newcastle United Football Club owner Ashley, who has a controlling stake in the Sports Direct chain of high street stores, is thought to be negotiating a profit-sharing arrangement with new Rangers owner Charles Green. It would see replica club kit and other products sold in the Sports Direct stores.
Rangers declined to comment, though it is understood that the club first has to resolve outstanding issues relating to its former contract with JJB Sports that it signed in 2006.
Under that deal, JJB acquired the Rangers shops and provided an annual payment that was due to expire in 2016.
It was valued at £48 million and divided opinion between those who saw it as underpinning Rangers’ future income and those who believed that it was a short-term measure that removed control over one of its key sources of revenue.
But contracts held by the old Rangers company were torn up when it went into liquidation. In recent times JJB has also struggled and has been forced to seek new injections of capital.
A JJB spokesman said: “JJB does have a commercial agreement with the current owners, and obviously had an agreement with the previous owners.”
No-one at Sports Direct was prepared to comment.
COMMENT, PAGE 37
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