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Saudi PIF update: ‘As determined as ever’ to complete Newcastle United takeover – Report

2 years ago

An interesting update on the Saudi PIF attempts to complete a Newcastle United takeover.

The update has followed on from Mike Ashley’s statement on Thursday.

In the official Newcastle United statement (see below) that the owner put out, Ashley confirmed that he has issued ‘arbitration proceedings’ against the Premier League.

Mike Ashley claiming he had been left with no choice but to put out this statement, after the Premier League allegedly broke their own confidentiality rules, by confirming they were involved in an active legal dispute with Mike Ashley and Newcastle United. That confirmation reported to have been contained in a reply from the Premier League to the fan group NCSL (Newcastle Consortium Supporters Limited) who are pressurising the EPL to answer questions regarding potential breaking of anti-competition rules, when no successful conclusion was arrived at with the Newcastle United takeover attempt by the Saudi PIF.

Following that Mike Ashley statement, The Athletic have now reported that their information is that in actual fact, the Saudi PIF ‘remain as determined as ever to buy Newcastle, despite having officially withdrawn the bid in July.’

The Saudi PIF led consortium withdrew their takeover bid at the end of July 2020 and their statement referred to the financial impact of the virus as the main factor. However, The Athletic say that in actual fact this was simply a smokescreen and than it private, the Saudi PIF have made clear that they did indeed pull out due to the delaying tactics of the Premier League and a process that they believed had been devised so that it had ‘become impossible to navigate successfully’ in order to buy Newcastle United.

The Athletic say that in actual fact Mike Ashley and the Saudi PIF have continued to both work to try and finally secure the Newcastle United takeover, having tried both political routes and now legal ones, in order to try and pressure towards a successful conclusion.

Does this all then add up to the Newcastle United takeover set to definitely happen at last?

I wouldn’t go that fair BUT what I would say is that certainly the situation isn’t hopeless and the will certainly appears to be still there from the Saudi PIF, with The Athletic via George Caulkin always having good information / insight from the buying side.

Mike Ashley is also at last still a willing seller, if it is the Saudi PIF bid that is willing to pay more than the club is actually worth.

So can a solution be arrived at via a combination of legal, political and even diplomatic routes? Well one thing for sure, at least today has been a lot more interesting and uplifting than the Steve Bruce style football we are watching this season.

Mike Ashley official Newcastle United statement – Thursday 19 November 2020:

“The Club has previously not commented on the arbitration it is pursuing against the Premier League (‘EPL’) with respect to its conduct relating to the proposed takeover because of the confidentiality clause in the EPL’s rules.

“However, the Club is aware of public reports which state that, on 17 November, the EPL referred to legal proceedings with the Club (e.g. social media posts referring to the “Club’s own legal case”) in a letter to Newcastle supporters.

“The source of some of the reporting is said to be the EPL. It appears, therefore, that the EPL has leaked the contents of their letter to some of those commenting in the public domain.

“The Club understands that these will be matters of great concern to its fans and therefore considers that, in light of the information disclosed by the EPL, it has no choice but to respond and update its fans in response to this coverage.

“The Club makes no comment on the substance of the arbitration, but it can confirm that it has issued arbitration proceedings against the EPL.

“It is unclear when those proceedings will be resolved, given the approach of the EPL and its lawyers, Bird & Bird. Nevertheless, the Club will continue to use its best efforts to press for a fair, full and timely hearing of its claim.”


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