Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley still believes the club's takeover will go through, despite being initially rejected by the Premier League
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley remains focused on selling the club to Amanda Staveley’s Saudi-backed consortium almost a year after the £300million-plus deal was struck.
The sportswear magnate is currently pursuing a legal route in his efforts to secure Premier League approval for the proposed takeover, having entered into an arbitration process.
However, the PA news agency are reporting that Ashley feels the sale has been agreed and simply needs to be rubber-stamped by the governing body.
The sale process is the latest saga to engulf St James’ during the Frasers Group mogul’s turbulent reign.
Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners, backed in large part by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and the Reuben Brothers, reached an agreement with Ashley in April last year after extensive talks – Staveley had failed in an earlier bid to buy the club – and the proposal was sent to the Premier League for approval.
The news sparked wild celebrations on Tyneside as frustrated fans contemplated the end of a fractious period in Newcastle’s history during which they were relegated from the top flight on two occasions, with the owner unwilling or unable to fund a more ambitious approach.
However, after a 17-week wait for the league’s owners’ and directors’ test to be completed – concerns over the relationship between the prospective buyers an the Saudi state, as well as TV piracy row proved stumbling blocks – the consortium withdrew its offer in July as the commercial agreement between the two parties expired.
A furious Ashley immediately signalled his intention to explore legal arguments in a bid to remove whatever obstacles had blocked the approval, and that process is ongoing.
It is understood that both seller and buyer remain willing to do business, although whether that would remain the case should the Magpies fail to retain their Premier League status, only time will tell.
Steve Bruce’s men sit three points clear of the drop zone with eight games remaining following Sunday’s 2-2 fightback draw with Tottenham, although they face a challenging run-in with Fulham hot on their heels.
Relegation would drastically reduce both the club’s value and attractiveness to buyers, but at the same time, would transfer responsibility for a decision from the Premier League to the English Football League