As revealed by the Northern Echo, Peter Kenyon is believed to have struck a £300m agreement ‘in principle’ with Mike Ashley – with the NUFC owner allowing the former Chelsea CEO to buy the club in ‘staggered payments’.
There are two potential issues according to the report, however.
Firstly, Kenyon is gathering proof of funds to prove to Ashley he is capable buyer and secondly, there’s the issue of time – with Paul Fraser’s piece stating that any deal may have to wait until well into January (which could be an issue).
Here’s a snippet from the Northern Echo’s piece this morning:
‘Ashley is waiting for one of the interested parties to get a takeover across the line.
‘Peter Kenyon’s consortium, working with Rockefeller Capital Management in the United States, is now believed to be the clear favourite to get a deal over the line despite expressions of interest from a couple of other interested parties.
‘Kenyon is determined to get back into a Premier League club after his spells with Chelsea and Manchester United, and is believed to have agreed a deal in principle for £300m to be paid in staggered amounts according to reports.
‘The finer details of such an agreement still have to be discussed, while Kenyon, who has previously been working with Middlesbrough in an advisory role, has been working on showing to Ashley that he has the necessary funds behind him to complete the takeover.
‘While Ashley wants to sell up, he is also reluctant to go down the road he did at this time last year when he felt Amanda Staveley refused to offer in excess of £250m. He is now prepared to consider staggered payments, something he was reluctant to do with Staveley, although ideally, he would prefer it all in one go.
‘But even if Kenyon, who has been granted access to the club’s accounts, and Ashley do reach agreement over the terms then they will have to wait for Premier League ratification – and that could delay things for weeks. Newcastle are known to be pursuing a move for Atlanta United playmaker Miguel Almiron and Benitez is pushing to progress transfers regardless of takeover talks.’
What seems clear once again is that Kenyon is the clear front runner to get this deal done, but what also seems apparent is he is still showing proof of funds.
This combined with the fact due diligence and the Premier League ratification process takes a good few weeks suggests he wouldn’t be in place until well into January – and that may be an issue.
Hopefully something can be agreed to facilitate the fact he’d be arriving midway into a vital window for Benitez and NUFC, but it’s at least good to hear that Ashley is now being flexible around payments and that a £300m deal has been agreed ‘in principle’.