Everything you need to know about the Newcastle United takeover – the key players, the deal & reaction to the news

Newcastle United have once again been the subject of takeover rumours – but who are the men reportedly eyeing a £300million bid for the club?

Sunday, 29th September 2019, 3:06 pm
Updated Sunday, 29th September 2019, 3:06 pm
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 15: General view inside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St. James Park on April 15, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Reports from the Daily Mail on Friday confirmed that a consortium, led by Peter Kenyon, are keen to take control of the club from Mike Ashley.

Kenyon previously failed with a bid towards the end of 2018, but is thought to be returning with fresh financial backing and a new proposal which may appeal to Ashley.

And while no deal is thought to be close to completion, what do we know so far about the proposed offer? And who are the man behind it? And crucially, how much financial firepower can they bring?

Here’s everything we know so far about the Newcastle United takeover:

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THE DEAL – Pay as you go?

According to the Mail, Kenyon and his consortium are proposing a £300million deal - although this sum will not be paid up front.

Ashley is believed to value the club at around £350million, meaning this offer would fall slightly short of his valuation.

It is believed that the group would be willing to pay the fee over a three-year period, while injecting an initial sum of £50million to cover operational costs at St James’s Park.

Ashley would be paid a sum of £125million upon completion of the deal, with the remaining balance to be paid via a ‘seller’s note’ over the following 36 months.

Interestingly, the Mail report that a clause in the deal stipulates that Ashley would be allowed to maintain his Sports Direct signage at St James’s Park until the final instalment is paid - which may prove an effective sweetener.

KEY PLAYERS

Kenyon’s proposal is supported by Florida-based investment firm GACP Sports - who purchased Ligue 1 side Bordeaux for £66million in July 2018.

Kenyon himself needs no introduction - having previously worked at Manchester United and Chelsea as chief executive, before unsuccessfully attempting to buy the Magpies last winter.

His counterparts from GACP however, are far less well-known.

They are led by Joseph DaGrosa, the CEO of GACP Sports and currently president of Bordeaux.

DeGrosa is a millionaire in his own right and has been described as a ‘prominent investor’ in his homeland having funded several successful businesses.

He previously helped salvage 248 Burger King franchises out of administration, and is also on the board of Eastern Airlines.

It is understood that GACP, under DaGrosa’s leadership, having estimated assets of round $1.3billion - which could give the group some significant spending power.

He is ably assisted by David Neithardt, with the pair having worked together for over two decades.

A financial analyst, Neithardt is a partner at GACP and has enjoyed great success alongside DaGrosa.

The final member of the GACP party is Hugo Varela, who acts as an executive and advisor at Bordeaux having run a successful range of soccer schools in America.

He is also thought to have some significant capital behind him.

THE PLANS

In a 46-page document detailing their intentions, Kenyon and GACP Sports have laid out some of their key plans for the club.

They claim that Newcastle United are an ‘undervalued brand’ which they believe can be transformed into one of the powers of English football.

An initial target of making the Magpies a top ten club in England has been set, while the group indicate they will support manager Steve Bruce - claiming he has ‘unparalleled success in Europe’.

In terms of transfers, the group intends to appoint a head of recruitment in a bid to attract the top talent from around Europe. The focus would be on bringing in young talent which could then be sold on for a profit - allowing for ‘continued substantial reinvestment into the squad'.

Kenyon would take the position of chief executive should such a deal be completed, while the roles of the three members of GACP remain to be seen.

Newcastle fans shouldn’t expect their new owners to flash the cash, though - DaGrosa previously described PSG as ‘bullies’ and is keen to promote young talent.

“We can’t compete toe-to-toe against PSG, dollar-for-dollar,” said DaGrosa last year.

“It’s insane. I mean, I don’t have oil in my backyard, so at the end of the day, we have to find a different way to compete, and we think that means getting to young talent first.

“We want to be first to attract the best players in France, who have been producing some of the best talent in the world. Let them pay the big money for the big players.”

TIMESCALE

No deal is believed to be imminent, and there will be questions marks over the £300million offer falling short of Ashley’s desired valuation.

There are a still a number of hoops for Kenyon and GACP to jump through should a deal be completed - not least due diligence and Premier League approval.

The former may prove slightly easier given the advanced stage which Kenyon’s deal reached last winter, which likely means he has a sound knowledge of the club’s intimate financial details.

But Newcastle fans shouldn’t expect a resolution soon - with plenty of steps still to be taken.

REACTION

It’s fair to say the news has been greeted with some scepticism on Tyneside – from fans, journalists and experts alike.

Here’s what YOU had to say about it…

And manager Steve Bruce has also had his say…