Is Mike Ashley finally going to sell Newcastle United?
The NUFC owner’s appearance on Sky News (see below) kicked everything off on Monday night.
Then the next 24 hours saw countless newspapers/journalists falling over each other to say that they had all heard in recent days/weeks, that a sale of Newcastle United could be imminent.
The constant theme being that they hadn’t wanted to put anything out there because of all the previous sale claims that didn’t happen. Newcastle fans understandably sceptical of this, as with the ever growing pressures on media to get clicks in this digital age it is difficult to believe nobody had ran the story.
However, Wednesday morning has seen takeover talk move up through the gears.
Firstly, Sky Sports ran an exclusive saying/claiming that at least four bidders had at least met Ashley’s asking price, reporting they understood all/most are from overseas, though they named only a Peter Kenyon bid backed by US investors.
Secondly, this has now been followed by a BT Sports report which is backing up the Sky Sports one.
They quote Press Association Sport as having information that ‘at least four interested parties’ have bid at least the £300m Mike Ashley was looking for. Their report states that all four (or more) bids are from overseas investors and that it has been claimed interest has been shown from potential buyers based in Turkey, the Middle East and America.
‘Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is considering four bids in excess of £300million for the club as he attempts to push through a sale before January.
The sportswear tycoon revealed on Monday evening that he was in talks with several potential purchasers 14 months after placing the Magpies on the market, and voiced his hope that a deal could be done within weeks.
Press Association Sport understands that at least four interested parties, all of them based overseas, have tabled offers and that talks are continuing amid optimism that Ashley’s timescale could be realistic.
The news emerged amid reports that former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon is ready to show his hand after spending several weeks attempting to put funding in place, while there have been suggestions that prospective purchasers from the United States, the Middle East and Turkey have made contact.’
Fair to say that Newcastle fans will still not believe anything until they see the new owner(s) on the St James Park pitch wearing/holding a Newcastle shirt.
The Mag – Monday 3 December 2018:
Mike Ashley has announced on Monday night that Newcastle United could be sold before the end of this month.
The NUFC owner stating that talks with the potential buyer are way beyond any previous talks with anybody wanting to buy the club and that it is ‘possible’ a deal could be done and dusted in December – but ‘realistic’ for it to happen this month might be ‘too strong a word’ to use.
Yet again you can’t help but have a small part of you wonder if it could happen at last BUT having over a decade now of the club supposedly being up for sale and a series of supposed near misses, most of us will believe it when we see it.
Predictably, it was Sky where Mike Ashley turned up. With cynics (all of us!) no doubt wondering if his sudden chat about supposedly selling the club, is in any way some part of a PR circus connected to his appearance before a house of commons select committee to talk about ‘saving the high street’ earlier today and/or yet another episode in toying with the hopes of Newcastle fans.
“It’s possible” – Mike Ashley says he is in talks to sell Newcastle United in a deal he hopes will go through before the January transfer window
— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 3, 2018
Mike Ashley talking to Sky News:
“I am hopeful for the Newcastle fans, for the club, for everybody, that I will be able to step aside and we will be able to get an owner in that can please everybody.”
‘When will that be?’
“When would I like it to be?
“I would like it to be before the January transfer window.”
‘Is that realistic?’
“Hmmm. Realistic? It’s possible, realistic is maybe too strong a word.
“Hopefully we can carry on the good form…just recent good form…and we can get the deal done.”
‘So you are in exclusive talks with someone right now?’
“Not an exclusive but…
“Talks are at a more progressed stage than they have ever been.”
‘And whoever buys the club would presumably have to put in transfer funds for Rafa Benitez?’
“Yes, I’m very keen to sell it to the right buyer, so everybody is happy, that would be good news.”