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Mike Ashley in talks to sell Newcastle United to Saudi Sovereign-Wealth Fund – Report

2 years ago

Mike Ashley in in talks to sell Newcastle United, according to a surprise report on Saturday morning.

The report is from an unusual source, with The Wall Street Journal breaking the story.

They headline their piece with ‘Saudi Sovereign-Wealth Fund in Talks to Buy U.K. Soccer Team Newcastle United’ and say that the price that is under discussion is around the £340m mark.

The key buyer is said to be the Public Investment Fund, which is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s key investment tool.

Obviously we are well used to seeing these claims of a potential sale, on at least a yearly basis, but one day a sale will happen, surely.

The report says that whilst the money would be coming from Saudi Arabia/Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also involved in helping to put together this alleged takeover is a certain…Amanda Staveley.

Just imagine, if Newcastle United could have a takeover confirmed and reach the FA Cup fifth round on the same day, our cup will runneth over…

The Wall Street Journal report:

‘Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund is in talks to buy U.K. Premier League soccer team Newcastle United F.C. for about £340 million ($445 million), according to people familiar with the discussions.

The buyer is the Public Investment Fund, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s key investment tool, together with a group of investors organised by British financier Amanda Staveley, the people said. A final deal could be days or weeks away, the people said. The tentative deal could still break down.

The seller is British businessman Mike Ashley, who bought the team in 2007 for 134 million pounds, and turned into one of the least popular owners in English soccer.

The acquisition would be a major coup for Saudi Arabia as it focuses on sports and entertainment as part of Prince Mohammed’s economic reform plans for the kingdom.

It could also mean a big infusion of capital into Newcastle akin to Abu Dhabi’s 2008 acquisition of Manchester City. Since then the city-state, capital of the United Arab Emirates, has spent over a billion pounds to amass playing talent, renovate the team’s facilities, and turn City into an era-defining team in the English Premier League.’


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