Newcastle United takeover & transfer news: Another key figure in Saudi deal emerges

Another key figure in the deal to buy Newcastle United from Mike Ashley has emerged.

Monday, 15th June 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 10:15 am

The New York Times are reporting that a broker in the Abu Dhabi buyout of Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour has also been performing a similar role in the £300million Newcastle United deal.

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers' bid to purchase the Magpies remains very much in the hands of the Premier League, with the buyers awaiting regulatory approval from the top flight before the deal can progress.

A process which was advised to take just two to four weeks will, on Thursday, stretch into its 11th week, using estimates as to when documents were originally submitted to the Premier League.

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President and CEO of Saudi Aramco Amin Nasser (L) shakes hands with Aramco's chairman Yasir al-Rumayyan after a press conference in the eastern Saudi Arabian region of Dhahran on November 3, 2019. - Saudi Aramco confirmed it planned to list on the Riyadh stock exchange, describing it as a "significant milestone" in the history of the energy giant. (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

And the report from across the pond suggests Ali Jassim 'joined forces' with Amanda Staveley, of PCP, and Carla DiBello, a confidant of PIF chief and prospective Newcastle chairman Yassir Al-Rumayyan, to broker the deal.

The New York Times claim to have been shown documents which suggest the wealth fund could even pay up to £350million for United, even though the purchase price is widely thought to have been lowered due to the implications of the coronavirus outbreak.

The report states: "According to the cooperation agreement, Jassim, who is based in Puerto Rico, would join forces with Amanda Staveley, a British investment adviser he met while working on the purchase of Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the brother of the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, and Carla DiBello, a socialite friend of Kim Kardashian West.

"The involvement of such a diverse cast of rainmakers and middlemen in a plan to broker the sale of a Premier League franchise to Gulf interests underscores the enduring appeal of English soccer teams to global plutocrats. But it also shows the key role personal relationships can play in deals involving the most high-profile figures and institutions in the Arab world, and the rich rewards available to those who can forge them."

While DiBello has close ties with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Al-Rumayyan and Staveley has been doing the negotiating with Ashley, the report claims Jassim's role in not as clear cut.

The documents are reported to claim Jassim has “significant experience in identifying, coordinating and consuming large cross-border transactions”.

Jassim is set to give evidence in Staveley's billion pound lawsuit against Barclays, which started up last week.

The NYT report continues: "Premier League officials are likely to be paying close attention, given Staveley’s interests — and now Jassim’s, too — in the Newcastle sale.

"Last week, the court heard that Staveley’s firm, PCP Capital Partners, faced questioning from Britain’s financial regulator in 2009 amid concerns it was conducting activities it was not authorised to at the time of the Barclays bailout.

"Any revelations that emerge could result in a new investigation, and further scrutiny from the Premier League over her suitability to become a Premier League owner. Staveley told the court that her firm had always acted within the rules."

No timeframe has been set for the Premier League to come to a conclusion on the United takeover, but their approval is all that stands in the way of an Ashley-free landscape at St James's Park, given the transfer of funds will not be an issue.

Criticism has come from a number of angles since news broke of a potential deal back in January.

One of the biggest critics of a potential deal has been human rights group Amnesty International but they are yet to be contacted by the UK government in regards to the United takeover, despite claims the current regime had reached out in recent days.