Ashley makes £100m from selling Sports Direct stake

There are rumours that Mike Ashley wants to expand his retail empire Credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has raised 100 million pounds after selling a four percent stake in his company.

The move has sparked speculation over his plans for the cash haul, amid rumours that the sports retail tycoon is interested in expanding his retail empire - possibly to include collapsed fashion chain Republic.

Sports Direct's brands also include Firetrap, Dunlop, Slazenger, Everlast, Lonsdale and Karrimor.

The Newcastle United owner currently owns a 64% stake of Sports Direct's shares, and Nick Bubb, an independent retail analyst, believes Mr Ashley's share sale may have been in response to requests to free-up stock to investors:

"I think he's doing it to improve liquidity in the stock - he doesn't need the money and if he was intending to bid for retail assets, he would do that through Sports Direct."

The move may also fuel hopes among Newcastle United fans that Mr Ashley is planning to bolster the squad with more new players in the summer, having recently secured five new signings.