By Adedapo Adesanya
The deal that will see Saudi Arabia take over English top-flight football side, Newcastle United Football Club has been called off on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers, who are the parties in the deal, all withdrew their proposed takeover due to the impact of coronavirus.
The green light for the completion of the deal had been given by the Premier League in April but no further details had been forthcoming since then.
The investment group in a statement on Thursday noted that it has decided to end its interest in the proposed takeover, citing the worldwide uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“With a deep appreciation for the Newcastle community and the significance of its football club, we have come to the decision to withdraw our interest in acquiring Newcastle United Football Club.
“We do so with regret, as we were excited and fully committed to invest in the great city of Newcastle and believe we could have returned the club to the position of its history, tradition and fans’ merit.
“Unfortunately, the prolonged process under the current circumstances coupled with global uncertainty has rendered the potential investment no longer commercially viable.
“To that end, we feel a responsibility to the fans to explain the lack of alternatives from an investment perspective.
“As an autonomous and purely commercial investor, our focus was on building long-term value for the club, its fans and the community as we remained committed to collaboration, practicality and proactivity through a difficult period of global uncertainty and significant challenges for the fans and the club.
“Ultimately, during the unforeseeably prolonged process, the commercial agreement between the Investment Group and the club’s owners expired and our investment thesis could not be sustained, particularly with no clarity as to the circumstances under which the next season will start and the new norms that will arise for matches, training and other activities,” the statement read.
The statement from the Investment Group added: “As often occurs with proposed investments in uncertain periods, time itself became an enemy of the transaction, particularly during this difficult phase marked by the many real challenges facing us all from COVID-19.
“We feel great compassion for the Newcastle United fans, with whom we shared a great commitment to help Newcastle United harness its tremendous potential and build upon its impressive and historic legacy while working closely with the local community.
“We would like to say that we truly appreciated your incredible expressions of support and your patience throughout this process. We are sorry it is not to be.
“We wish the team and everyone associated with it much good luck and success.”
It is not clear what will happen now but club owner, Mr Mike Ashley, still runs the football outfit which ended the just-concluded league season in 13th position.
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