Wednesday brings new media claims that Mike Ashley is in the process of finalising the sale of Newcastle United to investors in America.
Rather than being a sports based story, this one comes from financial website Betaville, which is ran by former Daily Telegraph financial journalist Ben Harrington.
Believe what you will…but Harrington says that ‘usually reliable sources’ have informed him that Mike Ashley has been in America to put ‘finishing touches’ to a sale of the club to a consortium of investors.
Newcastle fans will be saying/thinking that they will believe it when it happens, especially after the farce a year ago when Mike Ashley claimed he was genuinely wanting to sell the club, only for it to come to nothing.
Supporters very sceptical due to the fact that Ashley first claimed he was trying to sell the club over a decade ago.
The Betaville site rarely has any football-related stories but Ben Harrington does claim that when it comes to business deals, the site has ‘broken several agenda-setting scoops, including the £3.5 billion merger of Carphone Warehouse with Dixons Retail in 2014.’
‘This is a story that’s been going backwards and forwards for the last couple of years. And no, Betaville isn’t referring to the dreaded Brexit. It’s the potential sale of Newcastle United Football Club by its billionaire owner Mike Ashley.
Ashley, founder of London-listed retailer Sports Direct, rekinkled sale talks eighteen months or so ago and even since then buyers, such as dealmaker Amanda Staveley, have come and gone (often via the sports pages of British newspapers).
But now Betaville hears from usually reliable sources the maverick entrepreneur has been over in the US putting the finishing touches to a deal to sell the business to a mystery consortium of investors.
It’s not clear who the buyers for are but the fact that Ashley was over in America to finalize the details implies that perhaps the purchasers for the Premier League club are from that part of the world.
In fact, it was former Telegraph colleague and City Editor of Sky News, Mark Kleinman, who wrote a month and half ago that Peter Kenyon – former chief executive of Manchester United and Chelsea – and Rockefeller Capital Management, led by Wall Street financier Greg Fleming, were circling the club.
How much Ashley sells for remains to be seen but he was previously reported to want £400 million for Newcastle United.
Now Betaville is a football fan but as an avid City and deals watcher I’m almost more intrigued by what Ashley plans to do with the cash injection from the Newcastle United sale.’