The gloves are off for Amanda Staveley and Mike Ashley.
The fight to own Newcastle United is not over yet.
In an exclusive interview with George Caulkin of The Times, who covers Newcastle United on a regular basis amongst other less important matters…Ms Staveley has confirmed that three offers have been made for the club and has given us the best background so far to what has been going on.
Whilst Mike Ashley continues to use Sky Sports and other committed press allies to push his agenda via leaked comments from ‘sources’ (Ashley’s minions), Amanda Staveley obviously feels that she has had no other option but to go public Ashley’s accusation that their bid had been a ‘complete waste of time’.
The three bids revealed in The Times exclusive are a confirmation of much that has been previously reported, even though Mike Ashley’s PR machine is now trying to prevent the situation as one where no proper offer(s) was/were made.
All three bids were made in November with the first (2 Nov) offering a guaranteed £200m on completion and another £100m in instalments if Newcastle aren’t relegated this season, her bid also wanted protection against any potential HMRC fines.
The second bid (10 Nov) saw £150m guaranteed on completion but another £150m in instalments if avoiding relegation this season, still protection against HMRC fines, plus another £50m if qualifying for Champions League (no time period stated on that but presumably by the end of the 2021/22 season when the last instalment was scheduled to be paid.
The third and final bid (so far) being one of £250m (made on 17 Nov) with no clauses.
The Times exclusive also stated that the Amanda Staveley bidders are also committed to investing at least £100 million on new players across the first two transfer windows after taking over (presumably over and above what would be available to Rafa Benitez via funds generated by the club) and another £100m on the infrastructure of the club – the essential improvements needed at the training ground and continually failing academy.
With potential relegation being a very real issue in terms, no bidder was ever going to risk buying the club as though they were buying in the summer and able to help properly dictate how the club/team would get on the following season.
Obviously that was what Mike Ashley expected and as you can see below, clearly invented rival bidder(s) to try and get more from the Amanda Staveley led bid, Ashley’s own legal representative told Sky Sports that a number of serious bidders had come forward.
Plus there have been a number of various ‘leaked’ exclusives claiming new bidders had come forward offering more than the £250m Amanda Staveley bid.
A few excerpts but to read the whole excellent Times exclusive go here (you then need to register but is initial free sign up offer and simple):
“I want to buy Newcastle – it’s hurtful and absurd to call us time-wasters.”
Staveley has been stung by that, irked by the suggestion that her pursuit of Newcastle, which has been very open, was nothing more than an exercise in self-publicity. “It is only right to let the fans know that there is no deal on the table or even under discussion with Amanda Staveley and PCP,” the source said, which was news to her. “I’m very much still interested in buying Newcastle,” she says. “And our bid remains on the table.”
“The suggestion that we were either wasting time or not serious is absurd. It’s hurtful. Hugely hurtful,” she says.
“This is something we’ve been working really hard on,” she says. “It’s not something we’ve just thrown together. I’m putting a lot of my own capital into this and our investors, who come from around the world, include sovereign wealth funds.”
“This is an investment, but it has to be a long-term investment,” Staveley says. “Newcastle would be run as a business, but we want it to be a successful, thriving business that is an absolutely integral part of the city.”
In the middle of December, Staveley was told that “another bidder” had emerged, prepared, according to Ashley’s people, to pay £350 million. Fine, PCP said, but come back to us if you want to re-engage. Since then, they have heard nothing. Not a single thing. Which, again, hardly fits with the Ashley-sanctioned notion of “exhaustive” discussions. “Where are the other bidders?” Staveley says. “It’s been for sale for three months.”
Will it happen? “I don’t know,” she says. “I hope so.”