Mike Ashley close to agreeing sale of Newcastle United to US consortium - report

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is reportedly close to selling Newcastle United to a "mystery consortium of investors".

Website Betaville, run by former Telegraph finance writer Ben Harrington, claim Ashley is "is putting the finishing touches to a deal to sell the business" - which the Sports Direct magnate has owned since 2007.

Mike Ashley flanked by Lee Charnley (left).

Mike Ashley flanked by Lee Charnley (left).

The report also claims the owner has been to the US to seal the deal, with the mystery investors likely to be from that area.

The report states: "This is a story that’s been going backwards and forwards for the last couple of years. And no, Betaville isn’t referring to the dreaded Brexit. It’s the potential sale of Newcastle United Football Club by its billionaire owner Mike Ashley.

"Ashley, founder of London-listed retailer Sports Direct, rekindled sale talks eighteen months or so ago and even since then buyers, such as deal-maker Amanda Staveley, have come and gone (often via the sports pages of British newspapers).

"But now Betaville hears from usually reliable sources the maverick entrepreneur has been over in the US putting the finishing touches to a deal to sell the business to a mystery consortium of investors.

"It’s not clear who the buyers for are but the fact that Ashley was over in America to finalise the details implies that perhaps the purchasers for the Premier League club are from that part of the world.

"In fact, it was former Telegraph colleague and City Editor of Sky News, Mark Kleinman, who wrote a month and half ago that Peter Kenyon - former chief executive of Manchester United and Chelsea - and Rockefeller Capital Management, led by Wall Street financier Greg Fleming, were circling the club."

Back in October 2017 Newcastle was put back up for sale by Ashley, with the asking price thought to be in the region of £400m.

Over the course of the October and November financier Staveley, as mentioned in the above report, reportedly tabled three conditional bids for the Magpies, all of which were rejected.

In January of this year Ashley publicly pulled out of negotiations with Staveley.

Last month the Gazette Ashley had dropped the asking price of United to £300m, with Kenyon attempting to acquire backers to formulate a takeover bid at St James's Park.