According to North East reporter Michael Walker, Mike Ashley is asking potential buyers to stump up £200m before ‘full takeover talks’ can begin – with him then wanting a further £100m to seal any deal.
We have to assume this is to separate credible buyers from ‘time wasters’ as Ashley calls them and that potential buyers would get their funds back if talks did break down; which, knowing Ashley, they likely would do.
Here’s a snippet from Walker’s latest takeover piece from i News:
There is decreasing expectation within St James’ Park that the proposed sale of the club by Mike Ashley to a consortium fronted by Peter Kenyon will happen this month – if at all.
The tone has gone from one of anticipation before Christmas to scepticism today. Ashley is believed to want £200m to enter into full takeover talks. From there he will seek add-ons taking the club’s valuation close to £300m.
Kenyon, the former Chelsea and Manchester United executive, is trying to reach the £200m mark. He has held discussions but is viewed from within Newcastle United as being short.
Ashley is a notoriously unpredictable deal-maker, so nothing is certain, but the overall takeover picture means that, if a sale does not proceed, Ashley will have to decide whether to back Rafa Benitez with club funds this month.
There appears to have been genuine interest from both Kenyon and Staveley to buy Newcastle and the fact both can’t match the asking price says more about Ashley than them.
It is a case of deja vu for Newcastle fans here and we have heard it all before – a deal is difficult to do, buyers aren’t credible etc etc and all alongside the usual backdrop of the January transfer window. Newcastle fans are rightly cynical by now and fed up, with fan groups now demanding more direct protest action.
Reports on the takeover like this today continue to surface but the reality is, we are no nearer a deal but drawing closer to the end of the transfer window, with zero investment – again.