According to financial expert Kieran Maguire, Mike Ashley would be willing to sell Newcastle United for £280m at a cash price – suggesting that Staveley and PCP could seal a takeover if they upped their up front off of £250m by around £30m.
The takeover has went from an exciting story filling fans with hope to a tedious tale that has looked more and more likely to end in disappointment the longer it drags on – however this is positive to hear from someone in the know on such deals.
We know that relegation clauses were a sticking point in some of Staveley’s offers, however her third and latest offer stands at £250m up front with no clauses.
Maguire explains here what he feels the club’s true valuation is, suggesting that he’d expect Ashley to move on and accept an offer of £280m cash – meaning he and Staveley may not be as far apart on valuation as we first though:
“We use a valuation model here at the University from a guy call Dr Tom Markham, who is now head of Sports Interactive – the people that do Football Manager.
“His PHD was based on this. I’ve crunched the numbers into that and it comes out at around £280m for a cash price.
“That is also around about the amount of money that Ashley has stuck in on a personal level, so I think when he walks away from Newcastle, he doesn’t want to be out of pocket himself.
“If PCP stuck in an extra £20m-£30m [on top of their final £250m offer] I think perhaps he might move on that [£300m asking price].”
As highlighted below and revealed in her big interview with George Caulkin, Staveley has made the following three offers. What’s significant about these in light of Maguire’s comments is that her current offer on the table (£250m up front) is not a million miles away from the price Maguire thinks Ashley would sell at:
- £300m, first bid, November 2: £200m on completion. £50m July 1 2018, £50m July 1 2019 — neither paid in the event of relegation. Benítez to stay as manager. Penalty clauses in the event of HMRC fine.
- £350m, second bid, November 10: £150m on completion. £50m January 1 2020 £50m January 1 2021 £50m January 1 2022 £50m in the event of qualifying for the Champions League. Benítez to stay as manager. Penalty clauses in the event of relegation and HMRC fine.
- £250m, third bid, November 17: £250m payable in full. Benítez to stay as manager. No clauses
As you can see above, Staveley’s initial offers also included relegation clauses and caveats that factored in the potential HMRC fine.
Here’s what Maguire had to say on those elements of her initial offers that’ve been rejected by Ashley:
“I think he is reluctant about the relegation clauses as realistically there’s about a 30% chance of Newcastle being relegated, given the position they’re in.
“There are 11 clubs separated by six points, so you’ve got a three in 11 chance of going down – that’s quite nasty to contemplate because the money in the Championship is pretty tough.
“The other issue in terms of outstanding concerns is the HMRC investigation into Newcastle and I think that was also built into the first two bids that were made by PCP, whereas the third bid – which was £250m and we’ll take on all the risk ourselves.
“We’ll take on relegation and the risk of HMRC fines. They say the reason we’re coming in so much lower is because we’re the risk takers.
“If you take on risk, they make you factor that into a price.”
Things could and will change between now and the end of the season, with TV deals and relegation/staying up playing huge roles, however this suggests that a deal may not be as far away as some think despite a breakdown in talks.
We live in hope.