What we know about latest Newcastle United takeover bid as Saudis line up £340m deal

“The reality is with these deals that once it gets out, if it's not done, it's probably not going to get done.”

Saturday, 25th January 2020, 1:47 pm
Updated Saturday, 25th January 2020, 1:47 pm

Those were the words of Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley last summer.

Today, news leaked of a takeover talks involving Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. The Wall Street Journal report that the fund is in discussions to buy the club for £340million.

Newcastle, not surprisingly, are making no comment, though it’s clear that the leak has not come from the club, which was put up for sale by Ashley in October 2017.

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Mike Ashley.

Ashley has previously been irritated by leaks of discussions with previous prospective owners.

The Gazette understands that talks have been ongoing with the Public Investment Fund, said to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “key investment tool”, for four months. The Crown Prince is said to control part of the House of Saud’s vast wealth, which is estimated to be up to $1.4trillion. There have been parallel discussions with one other unnamed group.

The Saudi fund, according to the WSJ, is working with “a group of investors organised by British financier Amanda Staveley”. Staveley, of course, was involved in a failed takeover bid two years ago. The report adds that a deal “could be days or weeks away”.

However, sources close to the proposed Saudi deal have indicated that a breakthrough isn’t close, and it’s clear that Ashley’s camp are disappointed by the leak.

Going back to Ashley’s quote. The deal is out, but it’s nowhere near done. And United fans, understandably, are sceptical.