An exclusive on Tuesday morning reports that Murat Ulker wants to but Newcastle United.
The Turkish businessman is said to be the country’s richest and the Evening Standard have quoted Tom McLoughlin who they report is working on behalf of Murat Ulker.
McLoughlin says: ‘The Ülker family have substantial assets and significant investments already in the UK. We understand football and our initial specific target would be to make Newcastle a solid top six club and a permanent feature in Europe with a popular local and worldwide following.”
The newspaper indicate that Murat Ulker is one of the previously reported, but not named, potential buyers of Newcastle United, said to be having talks after signing non-disclosure agreements.
If the London based newspaper’s reports have any substance, we could all be celebrating with Penguins and Jaffa Cakes, just two of the household brands that Murat Ulker owns.
As always, we live in hope.
Evening Standard exclusive:
Turkey’s richest man, billionaire biscuits king Murat Ülker, has emerged as a front-runner to buy Newcastle United from owner Mike Ashley, the Evening Standard can reveal.
Ülker is the chairman of Yildiz Holdings, the Turkish-based European food empire which boasts 56,000 staff and owns a host of household brands including McVitie’s, Penguins and Jaffa Cakes. Sources say he is ready to pay around £220 million.
Sports Direct founder Ashley, who has owned Newcastle for a decade, formally put the club up for sale yesterday with hopes of a sale by Christmas. But Ülker and other possible buyers have been tracking the club for months.
Ülker, who is worth some $3.7 billion (£2.8 billion) according to Forbes, will become the first Turkish owner of a top-flight football club if successful.
He faces opposition from financier Amanda Staveley, who was recently pictured at Newcastle and whose PCP Capital Partners controls billions in Middle East wealth. Chinese investors are also reported to have shown interest.
Tom McLoughlin, the Ülker family’s representative in London who has brokered a number of deals involving football clubs, said: “The Ülker family have substantial assets and significant investments already in the UK.
“We understand football and our initial specific target would be to make Newcastle a solid top six club and a permanent feature in Europe with a popular local and worldwide following.”
The Turk is ready to back coach Rafa Benitez with up to £60 million to invest in new players.
Ülker’s team of advisers include accountants PwC and international law firm Charles Russell Speechlys.
His representatives have been talking to Ashley’s advisers since early this year although hurdles included HMRC’s tax raids on Newcastle United and West Ham in April, involving nearly 200 officers in England and France. These prompted another round of haggling over the price. Ashley also briefly considered selling a significant minority stake in the club, which Ülker refused.
***Tuesday afternoon has seen the Press Association report that Yildiz Holding, Murat Ulker’s controlling business, have said they/he are not planning to buy Newcastle.