Newcastle sale imminent as Mik...


Newcastle sale imminent as Mike Ashley agrees £300m Saudi deal

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Mike Ashley appears to be finally on the verge of selling Newcastle United.

The financier Amanda Staveley is fronting a bid from PCP Capital Partners, which includes investment from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund.

Ashley bought Newcastle for £133million in 2007 but the Sports Direct owner has been an unpopular figure on Tyneside almost since day-1.

It’s believed a sale to PCP would come at a price of £300million (€345million)

A 31-page charge agreement lodged with Companies House in London was made public on Monday and it sets the table for a deal to be completed.

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PiF) are believed to be funding 80 per cent of the deal, with the remaining 20 per cent split between Staveley and the wealthy Reuben Brothers group.

It's not the first time Staveley has come close to leading a takeover of Newcastle.

Near the end of 2017, Ashley communicated that, "Attempts to reach a deal with Amanda Staveley and PCP have proved exhausting, frustrating and a complete waste of time" after talks failed to produce a sale.

When the parties previously came close to a deal, it was believed the asking price for the club was £340million, but circumstance and the promise of a cash deal have seen Ashley willing to lower his valuation.

Neither Ashley, Staveley, nor Newcastle United themselves were commenting on the potential deal on Tuesday night but it's believed confirmation was imminent.

The deal has been forwarded to the Premier League to be assessed under its owners and directors test. It may be several weeks before the deal can be approved.

The Saudi PiF is under the direction of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi ownership will open Newcastle up to claims of 'sportswashing'.

In 2019, bin Salman told CBS' 60 Minutes that he did not order the brutal death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, but did accept "full responsibility" for what he called a "heinous crime".

On October 2 of 2018 Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was greeted by a 15-man hit squad who proceeded to murder and dismember him.

"When a crime is committed against a Saudi citizen by officials working for the Saudi government, as a leader I must take responsibility", bin Salman said a year later.

"This was a mistake, and I must take all actions to avoid such a thing in the future".

Speaking of a potential deal between Ashley and PIF in January, Amnesty International said, "Under the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, there’s been a sweeping human rights crackdown

"There’s been a blatant whitewash over Jamal Khashoggi’s grisly murder, there are continuing concerns over Saudi hacking, and the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen has a bloody record of launching indiscriminate attacks on homes and hospitals."

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Amanda Staveley Jamal Khashoggi Mike Ashley Mohammed Bin Salman Newcastle United Premier League Saudi Arabia

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