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Tyne Talk

Comment: Bin Zayed Group now set to buy Newcastle United on the never never? – Report

2 years ago

Are the Bin Zayed Group at last going to buy Newcastle United from Mike Ashley?

A new report claims that could well be the case as Newcastle fans wake up on a Sunday morning, only three weeks before the season kicks of.

However, this new report indicates that it won’t be oil riches that finance the deal.

Instead, The Mail report (see below) that an American hedge fund could provide the money to the BZG: ‘Fortress Investment Group is one of a number of parties talking to Bin Zayed Group’…

The last communication of any sort that we have had from the Bin Zayed Group came two weeks ago, via Peter Redding who is a sports presenter on Capital Radio, which is based in the UAE. Whilst the way they put this message  out was a little bizarre, it appears to have come from the BZG as they have never said otherwise.

Peter Redding – 8 July 2019:

Following a meeting with Bin Zayed Group officials they would like to put on record the following information for NUFC fans:

“Both parties have worked diligently in finalising a deal, none more so than ourselves.

“We have completed every aspect required in a takeover process.

“Press claims of no bids or Premier League approval processes are simply untrue.

“The current owners have cooperated amicably throughout this process and if a deal is not forthcoming it will not be due to lack of effort from both parties.”

Obviously, not being able to raise the money to buy NUFC, could fall into the category I suppose of ‘it will not be due to lack of effort from both parties’, although it would be very difficult to believe this is the case.

Whilst there is no doubt that Newcastle United could have far higher revenues if ran by ambitious owners and ones not carrying the baggage that Mike Ashley brings, loading themselves and/or the club with massive debts at high interest rates wouldn’t appear to be the best of plans.

Looking for a more positive angle, you could hope that possibly instead the Bin Zayed Group do at least have the necessary funds for the purchase price but then may choose to borrow extra cash for essential spending on the infrastructure and playing squad.

Man Utd of course were bought by the Glazers who then loaded all the purchase price as debt onto the club, actually using the club they were buying as the collateral to get the deal done. Football finance experts have calculated that since buying the club, the Glazers have cost Manchester United over a billion pounds, due to massive interest payments to service the debt, money the Glazers take out for themselves, as well as other costs they have landed the club with. This compares to Man City where in a similar time period the owners have put into the club investment of over a billion pounds.

Whilst Man Utd fans recently making this point (claiming more unlucky than Newcastle fans with their owners) have elicited zero sympathy from NUFC supporters, it isn’t difficult to see just how ridiculously dominant Manchester United could/would have been if they had carried Man City’s luck in who bought them.

Speaking of luck with owners…Mike Ashley also loaded debt onto Newcastle United when he bought the club, which was effectively part of the purchase price – such as money that NUFC still owed on players and a remaining debt of around £50m on a mortgage that was taken out to finance the rebuilding of St James Park when the Halls and Shepherds were in control. It is laughable that anybody still swallows the line that Mike Ashley was in some way duped and paid far more than he was expecting for the club because of not doing proper due diligence. These type of things were at the very forefront of the yearly accounts and it is impossible that he and his advisers knew nothing about them.

As for the Bin Zayed Group and indeed all of the other serious bidders – that we were told by Mike Ashley’s peoples and others do actually exist, the question is ‘Where are you?’, as Delia Smith might say after a few sherries.

It has been suggested to me that Mike Ashley may have insisted on anybody trying to buy the club that before they saw the books they had to sign NDAs, which stated that if a sale didn’t go through, then they weren’t allowed to make public why that had been.

Therefore, if say Mike Ashley had raised the price or was insisting on ongoing Sports Direct advertising and/or merchandising arrangements, nobody would be able to tell the world…

Sadly, I don’t think any of us are expecting a takeover to happen and instead we stand ere three weeks before the season starts, with only 18 days of the transfer window after today and not a single signing, as well as Rafa and key players having left.

The Mail headline and extract from their report:

‘U.S. hedge fund holds talks with Dubai-based Bin Zayed Group over £300m Newcastle FC purchase

An American hedge fund backed by Japanese investment giant SoftBank has been holding talks with the Dubai-based Bin Zayed Group which is interested in buying Newcastle United Football Club for between £300 million and £350 million.

It is believed Fortress Investment Group is one of a number of parties talking to Bin Zayed about providing expensive debt financing for a takeover of the Premier League club, owned by retail tycoon Mike Ashley.

Sources close to the situation said talks between Bin Zayed and Ashley’s representatives had been put on ice. But Bin Zayed is thought to have appointed accountants from KPMG and lawyers from Pinsent Masons to work on a deal.

Fortress declined to comment. Bin Zayed Group did not return calls for comment.’


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