The Newcastle takeover saga has once again become headline news this week as fans continued to hope that an Amanda Staveley led bid would succeed in helping them be free of Mike Ashley.
The past 48 hours had seen Mike Ashley use Sky Sports to claim that talks with Ms Staveley had proved a ‘complete waste of time’ and there was no prospect of a deal, with no offer on the table and no ongoing talks.
This was countered by ‘sources close to’ Amanda Staveley telling media that there definitely had been a written bid made, believed to be £250m, and the implication being that this bid was still active and Ashley could still choose to accept it.
Bottom line being, what many/most of us already accepted, that certainly no deal was imminent at least until the relegation issue was sorted one way or another.
With such single-minded focus on simply getting rid of Mike Ashley, the actual identity of who could/would be Newcastle United’s new owners had taken up very little attention.
Whilst some believed claims that Amanda Staveley and her company PCP Partners could be conducting the attempted Newcastle takeover on their own, the majority assumed that as usual her role was trying to broker a deal on behalf of investors.
An interesting development now then with the well-respected David Conn of The Guardian, a serious football business journalist not prone to speculative reporting, revealing the identity of the Amanda Staveley backers in the Newcastle deal.
Rather than investment from the Middle East, it turns out Newcastle United’s new owners could have been more middle of London.
David Conn saying that Amanda Staveley had authorised her spokesperson to reveal that the Reuben family were co-investors in the Newcastle takeover attempt.
David and Simon Reuben lead the ‘Reuben Brothers’ business (In 2016 the Sunday Times rich list put their combined wealth at £13bn), which is involved in property, private equity and venture capital, David Conn saying that the Staveley spokesperson had said that David Reuben’s 31 year old son Jamie had been the main man in working with Amanda Staveley on the attempted takeover.
The Guardian article has seen Newcastle fans quickly track down the fact via social media that Jamie Reuben is a Chelsea fan, having some fun in particularly drawing attention to the fact that when Rafa Benitez was at Chelsea, Reuben made clear on Twitter – along with many other Chelsea supporters – how he didn’t want the now Newcastle manager at his club.
David Conn also got confirmation via an official spokesperson from the Reuben family to say that they had indeed been interested in investing in a Newcastle takeover but that after the November offer was rejected ‘the deal was off’.
Whilst Newcastle fans understandably hoped that a way could be found for Mike Ashley to leave as soon as possible, mid-season, an agreement on the club’s value was always going to very difficult when relegation is a real fear.
The main optimism has to be that at last it does appear that Mike Ashley was/is interested in selling and that there was genuine interest from a party in buying the club.
Whether anybody will ever match Mike Ashley’s valuation at any particular moment in time is anybody’s guess.
Hopefully once the relegation issue is sorted, we will see positive movement on this.
What a club to support.
It now looks certain we will complete an eleventh season under the control of Mike Ashley.
David Conn writing for The Guardian:
‘A major British family investor, the first to be named by the businesswoman Amanda Staveley as a financial backer of her £250m bid to buy Newcastle United, has said they are not now planning to invest in the club. According to both parties, the Reuben family did agree financial terms to support Staveley’s bid in December, but after her offer was rejected the family has not been involved with it since.
A representative of Staveley, asked by the Guardian how she is proposing to fund the planned takeover of the club from the Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, said on Wednesday that he had been authorised to reveal that the London-based Reuben family is one of her co-investors. Staveley’s representative said that the Reuben family’s proposed investment in Newcastle had been led by David’s son Jamie.
A source close to Jamie Reuben confirmed that they were approached by Staveley in November, and they did agree financial terms for their involvement. Then in December they understood that the deal was off because Staveley’s offer had been rejected, and the family has had no further engagement with it since then.
The official spokesman for Reuben Brothers confirmed that the family did consider whether they might invest in Newcastle, but said Simon Reuben is unequivocal that they are not doing so. “It is true that we did have a look at it, but nothing actually happened,” the spokesman said. “We are not investing in Newcastle United either as Reuben Brothers or as any individuals, including Jamie.”
The Reuben Brothers’ official spokesman said Simon Reuben was “pretty emphatic” that the family is not investing and said that, as Jamie Reuben had led on the talks with Staveley, Simon had called Jamie and confirmed that was correct. “They had a look apparently, but it didn’t go anywhere,” the spokesman said.
Staveley’s representative said there was an agreement with the Reuben family, and there had been no need to engage further with them since December, or for them to commit any funds, because no further progress had been made with Ashley.’