Saudi Arabia Nears Newcastle Take Over

April 15, 2020
newcastle united

By Adedapo Adesanya

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has reportedly reached a £300m deal to acquire Newcastle United football club from owner Mr Mike Ashley.

Reports claim that Mr Ashley reduced his £340m asking price as the game of football faces an unprecedented disruption from the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the reports, official paperwork showed that a deal is close with a Saudi Arabia-backed group which involves Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

It was further disclosed that the deal is being facilitated by Ms Amanda Staveley, the British financier, through which her PCP Capital Partners will put in 20 percent of the consideration for Newcastle, with 10 percent of the funds coming from her personally, and the remaining from David and Simon Reuben, the wealthy British property investors.

A 31-page charge agreement filed with Companies House and signed by Ms Staveley for PCP Capital Partners and a lawyer for St James Holdings Ltd indicated a framework for a deal was being put in place.

Another key document indicates that the British billionaire wants to sell as soon as possible claiming he is ready to lend money to Ms Staveley so she can fund her 19 percent share.

With this, the Premier League is in the process of conducting the owners and directors test on the Staveley-led group — the final step before the transaction could proceed.

Business Post had earlier reported that Ms Staveley previously failed with a takeover bid that was launched in 2017, but the businesswoman has been part of a fresh attempt this year in partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and private equity firm Reuben Brothers.

Last year, Newcastle United was rumoured to be on the brink of being bought by Abu Dhabi billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan, but that deal did not go ahead either.

The Bin Zayed Group, representing the UAE billionaire, was thought to have agreed terms for a takeover at Newcastle last year but it failed to happen.

With this new development, the deal would see Newcastle pass into the portfolio of one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, with around $300 billion assets under management.

Mr Mike Ashley, who made his fortune from sportswear retailer Sports Direct has owned Newcastle United since buying it for £134 million in 2007. He first tried selling the club in 2008, but this saw opposition from fans.

Newcastle were in 13th place in the Premier League when the season was suspended on March 12.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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