Is this Mike Ashley's response to Peter Kenyon's £300m Newcastle United bid?

Great news? Or fake news?

Friday, 27th September 2019, 3:50 pm

Newcastle United fans have been waiting for a takeover for a long time. Is their wait about to come to an end?

Mike Ashley dismissed Peter Kenyon’s last takeover attempt in an interview last month. United’s owner said: “Peter Kenyon convinced me last Christmas that it was going to get done. I’m never doing that again. The reality is with these deals that once it gets out, if it’s not done, it’s probably not going to get done.”

Kenyon’s latest bid, backed by Florida-based GACP Sports, is out. It’s been leaked, but it’s not done. What does that tell us?

Peter Kenyon.

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There are two key questions that need answering. Firstly, does Kenyon’s group have the money? And, secondly, how prepared is Ashley to sell?

Kenyon’s group has some money – £125million as a down payment – but they need more. A lot more. The package that has reportedly been put to Ashley is worth £300million – and the proposal involves paying the balance over a three-year period.

Up to now, Ashley has always insisted that he would only sell to an individual, or group, that had the means to take the club forward.

It’s reported that Kenyon’s consortium has £50million earmarked for “operational costs”. However, tellingly, the glossy brochure shown to prospective investors in the USA states that, in their plan, “all transfer payments are financed through internally generated cash without additional investment from ownership”. Haven’t we heard that before?

Mike Ashley.

Kenyon’s spending forecast is £75million in 2019/20, £35million in 2020/21 – and £40million in each of the next three seasons.

Is that any different to what we have now? Kenyon and are investors looking for a return. They’re not benefactors. And this wouldn’t be a vanity project.

There are questions about funding from what we know, so far, about the proposed bid.

Then there’s Ashley and his willingness to sell. Ashley is seen by fans and observers to be a reluctant seller, despite having formally put the club on the market in October 2017.

Is this an offer he can’t refuse? No, looks to be the answer.