The new Premier League TV deal could push Mike Ashley closer to the exit door at Newcastle United according to finance expert Kieran Maguire, with him claiming that the NUFC owner was ‘gambling’ on the package becoming even more lucrative – however it’s in fact set to go down in value.
Maguire mentions that Ashley was hoping to see a ’15-20%’ rise on the previous TV deal worth £4.46bn, however the upcoming deal for domestic TV rates looks set to see them go DOWN by 10% – not up as Ashley had hoped.
Not only does this lessen the value of his asset (NUFC), the income coming into the club will be lower, meaning there won’t be as much in it from a financial perspective for Ashley to remain at the club.
Maguire insists that this only strengthens the chances of a takeover if the likes of Amanda Staveley now step up and show they are ‘serious’ about any deal, however this development can only help make Ashley’s mind up that he wants out.
Here’s what football finance expert Kieran Maguire has had to say to the Chronicle on the matter this week:
“I think Mike Ashley was gambling – he is a gambler,”
“He was gambling on a 15-20% rise in the domestic TV rates and given that they have not managed to sell the final packages and the Premier League has gone back to the drawing board to try and sell them, I think we can assume they’ll be £300-400million short on the previous deals.
“If Mike Ashley was banking on this deal going up by 15-20% and they are actually down 10% that will have an impact on what Amanda Staveley or anyone else who is interested in buying Newcastle is going to pay. So I think it does have an impact from that perspective.
“It also has an impact from the perspective that one of the biggest issues in any prospective takeover is uncertainty. And the TV deal was one of the areas of uncertainty and when we find out exactly what the TV deal will be when the final two packages are sold, that uncertainty will disappear.
“I think given Ashley has probably factored in a rise in the domestic TV deal, we should – in theory – see a narrowing of the difference between the asking price and the price that Amanda Staveley should be willing to pay. I think this allows them to reach a conclusion if both parties are serious about this transaction.”
The Chronicle state that this domestic TV deal was “one of two major areas of uncertainty” when talks began between Ashley and Staveley, with the other being the club’s Premier League status.
This suggests that two of these ‘uncertainties’ will be settled in the summer, suggesting a sale could be resurrected, however Maguire does insist that it is now time for Staveley to step up and do a deal if she is in fact serious:
“I say the TV deal should bring the parties closer together but I do have my doubts about whether both parties are serious,” he says.
“She was playing a lot on the Middle East links and from a fan’s point of view that ticks a lot of boxes but there are as many questions about the provenance of her funding and how she has approached this transaction.
“Mike Ashley, by the same token, is not a fool, and I think the final offer that was one the table – that of £250million with no strings attached – will not be to his liking. He would effectively walk away at that point with little or no profit. Whether he would be happy to do that is another matter.”
There’s a lot to sort out between now and the end of the season, with Premier League safety being the first and biggest initial obstacle, however we can only hope there’s some progress on the takeover front.
This, to me, seems like a promising development – however it only becomes valid if interested parties are actually ready to firm up their interest over the coming months.