A possible takeover of the Premier League football team Newcastle United by a group led by British financier Amanda Staveley with support from Saudi Arabia appears to be close to completion on Tuesday.
A 31-page indictment filed with Companies House and signed by Staveley for PCP Capital Partners and a lawyer for St James Holdings Ltd said that a framework for an agreement was being put in place.
However, there was no mention of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) – the main investment vehicle for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – which had previously been flagged as a potential majority shareholder. Media has said the group will take an 80% stake if the deal is reached.
British billionaire Mike Ashley, who made his fortune with sportswear retailer Sports Direct (Frasers group), has owned United since he bought it for £ 134 million in 2007. He first tried selling the club in 2008, arousing the fury of fans, many of whom have never forgiven him for sacking club legend Kevin Keegan.
Sky Sports television said the asking price had fallen to around £ 300 million ($ 378.33 million) from the previous $ 340 million, with Ashley willing to structure the payments.
The reduction would reflect the impact of the coronavirus pandemic that has stopped most football in the world.
The northeast club has a long and proud history; founded in 1892 and spending 87 seasons competing in the country’s elite. It has been on the market for several years and discussions with Staveley’s PCP have been going on behind the scenes for some time.
Ashley was the first Premier League boss to take advantage of the UK leave scheme, where the club wrote to staff saying they should stay home without being paid by the club and apply for the job. government coronavirus retention program, which sees the government pay up to 80 percent of their salaries. The club’s world famous players and coaches were not affected, but the move would have included charities from the Newcastle United foundation, who had distributed food packages at the start of the crisis.
Ashley also lobbied the government to allow its Sports Direct retail stores to remain open during the foreclosure, arguing that the sale of health and exercise equipment was an “essential service”, and its staff should be at work as usual in its stores. He then apologized for his “misunderstandings”.
United remains the only Premier League club to intend to use public funds to pay for non-playing staff.
There have been many criticisms of clubs using the system, with the outcry from supporters behind the policy reversals in Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and, on Tuesday, Bournemouth.
Newcastle United did not comment on the takeover reports, with the Newcastle Chronicle reporting that Ashley was currently in Miami. Staveley could not be contacted immediately.
Sky said the Saudis would own 80% of the shares, while Staveley would own 10% and play a key role in running the club. The remaining 10% would be owned by billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben.
PCP made an offer for £ 250 million three years ago, but talks failed.
In 2019 there were rumors that Newcastle United was on the verge of being bought by Abu Dhabi billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan, but that deal was not reached either.