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Two groups of investors want to buy Newcastle United but Mike Ashley refusing to negotiate – Report

3 months ago
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Mike Ashley is making a deal to buy Newcastle United all but impossible.

The NUFC owner is refusing to negotiate with two groups of interested investors, meaning progress can’t be made towards a sale.

The report from The Mail says that the two parties interested in buying the club are a group of ‘seriously wealthy’ American investors and a consortium that has been put together with the help of former Chelsea and Man Utd Chief Executive Peter Kenyon.

The interest of both parties was revealed/reported some weeks ago but The Mail indicate that the interest of both is genuine and they haven’t gone away.

The report says that for the American investors who are interested, the stumbling block is a case of deja vu from a year ago, when Amanda Staveley’s group of bidders made a number of bids (George Caulkin of The Times confirmed the bids had been made and Newcastle United had confirmed that fact – see below). However, the stumbling block being that the biggest of the three offers for £300m included a clause whereby Mike Ashley would have to pay back a certain amount of money if the club had ended up getting relegated last season.

Mike Ashley refused to entertain the idea despite Newcastle battling relegation mid-season and any new owner buying at that point, being exposed to a possibility of relegation knocking a lot of money off the club’s valuation, in a situation where the new owners would only have a limited chance (the January window and less than half a season) to turn things around.

The Mail say that the American investors are now willing and able to pay £300m but with Newcastle only one point above the relegation zone in late November, they want the comfort of a relegation clause that would repay a certain amount of money if the club went down this season, just as Amanda Staveley’s people did a year ago.

The Mail quote a source:

‘The situation with the collapse of the Amanda Staveley deal has not helped any others looking at taking the club over.

“Business people are not silly.

“They know that Newcastle’s value could dramatically reduce should they get relegated and so they are looking to insert a clause which would cover them should that be the case – but there is simply no movement on it.

“It appears to be a simple case of ‘pay us £300m or there’s no deal’.”

The report says that Peter Kenyon’s party of investors are also finding Mike Ashley difficult/impossible to deal with, as he is refusing to discuss anything other than an interested part having to meet his valuation, rather than negotiate even though selling in mid-season when threatened with relegation, is a very different situation compared if a sale was going through in a close season.

As always with any possibility of Mike Ashley selling up, we will believe it when it happens.

The Mag – 12 May 2018:

Hopes of Newcastle fans for much-needed change were raised back in the Autumn, when it emerged that businesswoman Amanda Staveley was the named lead figure on a bid to by Newcastle United.

Mike Ashley had stated that the club was up for sale in October but initial optimism quickly drained away as Newcastle went on an appalling run of form, picking up only one point in nine games stretching from late October and ending up in the bottom three in December.

The big problem for any potential buyer, Amanda Staveley and her investors, or whoever else, was that you could be buying a club that  in a few months time could be relegated and be approximately halved in value.

A war of words broke out (see below), with both sides using the media to get their message across.

Sky Sports reported an Ashley source saying that the Amanda Staveley bidders had proved to be a ‘complete waste of time.’

Whilst George Caulkin of The Times got confirmation from ‘two sources close to Amanda Staveley’ said ‘categorically’ that a written offer had been made in November and was still on the table. Caulkin later interviewing Amanda Staveley herself with further confirmation.

With Premier League safety confirmed last month, little surprise to see Newcastle fans hoping for a takeover to actually happen, only for apparently nothing appearing to happen.

That is apart from Mike Ashley, once again via Sky Sports, letting everybody know he had now raised the asking price by £100m to £400m. The price tag rise appearing to be based on no justifiable foundation, leading many/most to wonder if he genuinely is interested in selling Newcastle United.

Saturday has seen the takeover become a talking point once again, George Caulking replying to a Newcastle fan who asked what was happening now and whether Staveley bid had been ‘genuine’.

The man from The Times has confirmed that ‘There were three bids and they were genuine’, with Caulkin having seen them and Newcastle United having ‘confirmed them.’

As George says, ‘There hasn’t been a queue of people trying to buy at his [£400m] price, either’, this despite Ashley’s representatives having claimed that there had been serious interest from a number of other parties since Amanda Staveley had come forward in the Autumn.

The bottom line never changes for me.

If Mike Ashley wanted to sell the club it would sell. He would put it up at a market price and somebody, Amanda Staveley bidders or whoever, would buy it..

You get mad people saying ‘why doesn’t she/they just pay the extra £100m’ as though it was nothing, why would/should anybody pay at least a third more than the club is probably worth.

With Rafa Benitez making clear there needs to be significant investment on the Academy and the low quality training facilities, as well as money needing to be spent on essential new signings, plus investment on St James Park, how could anybody buying the club be willing to throw another £100m+ away AND do everything that needs doing?

George Caulkin:

“There were three bids and they were genuine – I saw all of them and club confirmed them.

“But they were also rejected.

“Since then, according to Sky sources, the price has gone up to £400m.”

Asked to define ‘genuine’ by a Newcastle fan:

“I have defined genuine. I’ve seen physical proof of the 3 bids.

“Whether you think they were big enough etc is up to you. Ashley clearly didn’t.

“Never high enough for the seller, no.

“But there hasn’t been a queue of people trying to buy at his price, either.”

On 16 January 2018:

Sky Sports:

‘No deal is in place between Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and Amanda Staveley’s PCP group for the sale of the club, Sky Sports News understands.

A source close to Ashley said:

“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 added that attempts to reach a deal had proved to be “exhausting, frustrating and a complete waste of time”.

Sky Sports News have contacted PCP and are awaiting comment.’

George Caulkin of The Times:

“Two sources close to Amanda Staveley assert categorically that PCP submitted a written bid for NUFC in mid November.

“Submitted to Ashley’s solicitors through Chris Mort of Freshfields (who of course used to work for Ashley & the club), they insist.”

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