30 July 2020

Saudi-Arabian consortium pulls out of Newcastle takeover

The Saudi Public Investment Fund has walked away from its takeover of Newcastle.

The PIF had been set to take an 80 per cent stake in the Premier League club but has withdrawn its interest.

Mike Ashley has owned Newcastle since 2007 (NurPhoto/PA Images)

A statement from the group read: “An investment group led by majority investor the Public Investment Fund; PCP Capital Partners; and RB Sports & Media, announced today that it has formally withdrawn its interest in pursuing the acquisition of Newcastle United Limited and Newcastle United Football Club Limited.”

PCP Capital and RB Sports & Media had been set to take a 10 per cent stake each in the deal, which is understood to have valued the club at just over£300million.

The statement added: “With a deep appreciation for the Newcastle community and the significance of its football club, we have come to the decision to withdraw our interest in acquiring Newcastle United Football Club.

“We do so with regret, as we were excited and fully committed to invest in thegreat city of Newcastle and believe we could have returned the club to theposition of its history, tradition and fans’ merit.”

“Unfortunately, the prolonged process under the current circumstances coupled with global uncertainty has rendered the potential investment no longer commercially viable,” the statement continued.

“To that end, we feel a responsibility to the fans to explain the lack ofalternatives from an investment perspective.

“As an autonomous and purely commercial investor, our focus was on buildinglong-term value for the club, its fans and the community as we remainedcommitted to collaboration, practicality and pro-activity through a difficultperiod of global uncertainty and significant challenges for the fans and theclub.

“Ultimately, during the unforeseeably prolonged process, the commercialagreement between the investment group and the club’s owners expired and our investment thesis could not be sustained, particularly with no clarity as to the circumstances under which the next season will start and the new norms that will arise for matches, training and other activities.”

The statement continued: “As often occurs with proposed investments inuncertain periods, time itself became an enemy of the transaction, particularlyduring this difficult phase marked by the many real challenges facing us allfrom Covid-19.

“We feel great compassion for the Newcastle United fans with whom we shared a great commitment to help Newcastle United harness its tremendous potential and build upon its impressive and historic legacy while working closely with the local community.

“We would like to say that we truly appreciated your incredible expressions ofsupport and your patience throughout this process. We are sorry it is not tobe.

“We wish the team and everyone associated with it much good luck and success.”

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