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Mike Ashley knock back on John Textor bid to buy Newcastle United revealed

5 months ago
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Mike Ashley came close to selling Newcastle United to an American investor in recent months.

It has been revealed that John Textor was involved in negotiations earlier in 2021 but that Mike Ashley in the end decided not to go ahead with the deal.

Textor is a 57 year old businessman from Florida and The Athletic report that he actually got as far as putting a deposit into an escrow account (An escrow is a contractual arrangement in which a third party receives and disburses money or property for the primary transacting parties, with the disbursement dependent on conditions agreed to by the transacting parties), ‘only for club owner Mike Ashley to change his mind on proceeding.’

John Textor has moved on from that failure on Tyneside and The Athletic say he is instead at an advanced stage in buying a stake in Crystal Palace, though they don’t clarify whether that is set to be as a majority or minority shareholder.

John Textor made headlines in 2012 when Digital Domain (Hollywood visual effects specialists) went bust, with investors losing fortunes. Textor was sued by investors but cleared by the courts and indeed received £6m compensation from hedge funds who were found to have been behind the company’s collapse.

In 2013, he launched Facebank and, in 2020, bought sports streaming platform fuboTV, then merging the two businesses before floating them on the New York Stock Exchange as FuboTV Inc.

As for what this tells us about Mike Ashley and Newcastle United…?

It had always been assumed that if the Saudi takeover didn’t happen, then it was very difficult (impossible?) to see Mike Ashley selling to anybody else. The Saudis, for whatever reason, willing to pay far more than Newcastle United is really worth, something that no other potential buyer would realistically be prepared to do.

However, just maybe this signals that Mike Ashley is so keen (desperate?) to sell the club, that if his legal moves don’t open the way to the Saudi takeover, he maybe will take a lower offer from an alternative at market price.

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