June 24, 2017 / 10:24 AM / 6 months ago

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley sells off Rangers shares

(Reuters) - Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has sold his Rangers shares to Hong Kong-based investor Julian Wolhardt and supporters group Club 1872, chairman of the Scottish Premiership team Dave King said.

FILE PHOTO: Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley attends their English Premier League soccer match on Remembrance Sunday against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England November 9, 2014. REUTERS/Darren Staples/Files

The 52-year-old billionaire, who founded British retailing group Sports Direct, had a nine percent stake in Rangers International Football Club PLC since 2014.

Wolhardt and Club 1872 each invested one million pounds to increase fan ownership to 11 percent and King is hopeful about the future of the club.

“This is the partnership I want to see lead Rangers forward,” King told the club website (rangers.co.uk).

“Rangers run by those who care for it most... a mature and structured organisation which can galvanise and represent our supporters and use their skills and talents to drive our Club back to the top of Scottish and European Football.”

Rangers signed a new commercial deal with Sports Direct last week which includes re-negotiated terms from the older deal.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru

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