Some intriguing and potentially exciting news coming from the Middle East this week, with suggestions that Amanda Staveley could use Arabian Gulf money to buy Newcastle United BEFORE the year is out – IF serious talks get underway with Mike Ashley.
This could be particularly significant news, with the story coming from ‘Arab News’ who have themselves interviewed Stavelely herself recently, with the Yorkshire born businesswoman having notoriously strong contacts in the Middle East.
Her firm, PCP Capital Partners, holds a whopping £28 billion worth of assets, with Staveley acting for big Gulf investors in London real estate and wealthy Chinese investors.
Quite excitingly, the report suggests our club shares similar characteristics to Manchester City – the club she helped Sheikh Mansour buy in 2008 which has since rocketed thanks to a major injection of middle eastern money.
Here’s an intriguing chunk of the report in Arab News this week:
She is said to be interested in the club in the northeast of England, believing it shares similar characteristics to Manchester City, which she helped Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of the UAE buy in 2008 for £210 million ($278 million), and which has since risen to the top of the English Premier League (EPL), helped by a big injection of Gulf cash.
A source close to Staveley told Arab News that her interest in Newcastle was at an early stage, that there had been no talks yet with Mike Ashley, the current owner, and that she was still interested in other clubs in the EPL.
But it was also indicated that a deal could be done relatively quickly, if serious talks got underway, possibly by the end of the year.
Staveley attended a football match in Newcastle last weekend as the guest of Rafa Benitez, the manager, signaling her interest in a possible takeover of the club. Ashley has said on several occasions that he would be a willing seller of Newcastle, which he has owned since 2007, at the right price.
Like Manchester City, Newcastle is a traditionally strong footballing brand in a city that is enthusiastic about the game.
Unlike the City deal, however, in which Staveley acted as an adviser to Sheikh Mansour, she would be the principal investor in Newcastle, via her firm PCP Capital Partners. Any bid would be backed by funds from her extensive network of contacts in the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere.
Globally PCP has $37 billion of assets under management, with Staveley acting for big Gulf investors in London real estate and other assets, as well as for wealthy Chinese investors.
Any discussions between Staveley and Ashley are likely to focus on price. Ashley is said to have spent £300 million on the club in the 10 years he has owned it, so any deal would probably have to start at that price.
Interestingly, it reveals that her interest is still at an early stage, but indicates that she is a big fan of the club – seeing comparisons to that of Manchester City – and that a deal could even be done by the end of the year, if serious talks get underway.
Crucially, as The Chronicle state, if she arrived she would be the ‘principal investor’ through her PCP Capital Partners firm – meaning the financial muscle would be provided by her Gulf backers – who aren’t short of a bob or two given her firms £28 billion worth.
There’s a long way to go yet, and my faith in this deal happening is far from strong given it lies in the hands of Mike Ashley, however this is another exciting nugget on the potential takeover, suggesting that a deal could well be there to be done.