Mike Ashley has signed NDA with Bin Zayed Group – & he’s waiting for ‘official’ bid – Report

According to the Chronicle, Mike Ashley has signed a non-disclosure agreement with the Bin Zayed Group – and he’s refusing to comment on a proposed takeover until an ‘official bid’ arrives from them.

While talk of ‘no bid’ questions just how far along this takeover really is, the fact it’s claimed Ashley has now signed a non-disclosure agreement with the BZG could be seen as a positive development – and would explain his silence.

One thing that doesn’t seem clear in light of this ‘NDA’ is just why the Bin Zayed Group have provided such a running commentary over the deal, however, with many questioning whether their TWO statements adhere to such an agreement. It doesn’t really add up.

That said, the fact that both Mike Ashley and Newcastle United have done nothing to refute their claims 48 hours later should probably be seen as a promising thing.

Here’s a snippet from the Chronicle’s latest piece:

‘Mike Ashley is believed to be ready to play the long game with Sheikh Khaled amid his bid to buy Newcastle United.

‘The Toon owner has issued a “no comment” status since the Bin Zayed Group were propelled into the limelight on Sunday night via a red top tabloid newspaper.

‘Significantly nobody at United offered a denial that Sheikh Khaled is in the running nor have the Premier League knocked anything down.

‘However, until Ashley sees an official bid – which is yet to land from the Middle East – the silence from both the United owner and the corridors of power at St James’ Park could go on.

‘Having signed a non-disclosure agreement, Ashley will feel he is simply adhering to the rules when it comes to a takeover deal.

‘True, the Bin Zayed Group have now distributed two statements but whether that is a sign that their confidence that a deal will be done in the fullness of time remains to be seen.’

Regarding the fact the Bin Zayed Group have been speaking out (making some think they’ve not adhered to the NDA), it’s worth mentioning that these NDA’s have to end at some point.

If a deal has been agreed and BZG have exclusivity, then there’s no need for an NDA any longer. If that was the case then you’d hope Ashley would speak out, but we all know about his inability to communicate clearly with Rafa Benitez and us Newcastle fans.

Maybe he feels there’s nothing to say if it’s true that no ‘official bid’ has been placed. Who knows!

Here’s hoping for good news soon – especially now the clock is well and truly ticking when it comes to Rafa Benitez’s contract (expiring in 30 days).

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

5 thoughts on “Mike Ashley has signed NDA with Bin Zayed Group – & he’s waiting for ‘official’ bid – Report

  1. How can ‘terms be agreed’ but there hasn’t been a bid accepted? Surely you bid it gets accepted / rejected. If accepted you discuss terms agree these then provide proof of funds? Whole thing Bishop/ Ashley PR bull****.

    They are laughing at us again 🙁


  2. God Lee Ryder boils my p**s he and the Chron reporters are as much in the dark as anyone. How do they know Ashley has signed a ND agreement if he’s signed and ND agreement; surely the most they would get is No Comment. Made up click bait.

    Just my take on the whole thing and why it feel like its going to happen this time around. Looking at Mike Ashley and sports Direct there seems to have been a shift in the business strategy over the past couple of years, from pile it high and sell it cheap, to buying more upmarket brands e.g. HoF and the failed attempt of Debenhams. He obviously is trying to raise cash, for whatever purpose, hence the sale of SD headquarters at Shirebrook. I know a lot of supporters believe the Amanda Staveley and Peter Kenyon bids were Ashley using them not to spend money in the transfer windows, but I believe they were genuine attempts to buy the club but to have a smaller initial payment then pay the remainder to Ashley back over time using future club profits. Another possibility maybe, Ashley was using these to flush out real buyers, or, real buyers put these forward to find out Ashley’s real value of the club, Who knows.

    Here are an interesting (I think they are anyway) sequence of events which lead me to believe good times are a coming.

    Oct 2018 – As reported in The Mag:

    “The Dubai based ‘National’ newspaper has given their own update on the latest Newcastle United takeover talk and they have two main claims.
    They say that a ‘source’ has told them that Peter Kenyon has so far ‘been unable to raise the required funds to instigate a bid’ for Newcastle United.”
    “Any buyer would have to take on all the future risk – both in terms of possible relegation and the player investment the team badly needs to avoid it.
    This is likely to mean any suitors would hold off on their interest until the on-field situation becomes clearer, the source said.”
    Requests for comment for this article from Newcastle United’s PR advisors went unanswered.’
    Full article:

    Dec 2018/Jan 2019 – Mike Ashley attempts to buy Denhams

    29 Jan 2019 – Newcastle ease relegation pressure as they come from a goal down to record a remarkable victory and inflict a huge blow to Manchester City’s title hopes.

    20 Feb 2019 – LONDON (Reuters) – British sportswear retailer Sports Direct plans to buy back up to 100 million pounds of its equity as it seeks to further reduce the share capital of the company

    ?? Feb 2019 – More than one buyer begin formal Due Diligence

    12 April 2019 – We beat Leicester City at King Power Stadium. This put us on 38 points – ahead of Cardiff by 10 points. After the Foxes game amongst all the post match analysis Rafa said:- “This result could change a lot of things and hopefully will change a lot of things”

    17t Apr 2019 – the stated date of BZG sending the Proof of Funds to Mike Ashley’s lawyers

    21 Apr 2019 – Newcastle United’s place in the Premier League is now officially confirmed after Cardiff’s failure to beat Liverpool.

    ?? April 2019 – Head of Terms signed by both parties
    (see: https://www.rocketlawyer.co.uk/documents-and-forms/heads-of-terms.rl#)

    Apr/May 2019 – Details sent to Premier League

    26 May 2019 – SUN break the story

    27 May 2019 – BZG confirm transaction:

    “We can confirm the representatives of his Highness Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan are in discussions with Mike Ashley and his team about the proposed acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club,” 
    “We have agreed terms and are working hard to complete the transaction at the earliest opportunity.”

    29 May 2019 – BZG issue clarification
    “In consideration of the numerous speculations in regards to the timelines of the acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club by Bin Zayed Group, we feel the need to issue this statement.”
    “Terms have been agreed between us and Mike Ashley; these terms have been reflected in a document, signed by both parties, which has been forwarded to the Premier League.”
    “The proof of funds statement was forwarded to Mike Ashley’s lawyers on 17 April 2019.”
    “The so-called fit-and-proper Premier League process is a standard procedure which will take time, and we are doing all we can to assist the Premier League during this process.”
    “We feel the need to clarify this point in order for the fans and the general public to understand the timelines.”
    Next step – time frame unknown
    Premier League approve takeover
    Conclude purchase of shares and the transfer of assets

    Here’s hoping


  3. Repost from my earlier comment – I keep reading from the Chronicle that there is no “bid” – the simple answer to this is that as a private company owned by private person(s), the only documents you need to buy and sell the company is the Share Sale & Purchase Agreement (S&P). You only lodge a formal offer / bid and issue an Offer Document if you are taking over a Public Listed Company. So this obsession with there not being a “bid” sounds like bull to me. Mike Ashley is the only person that needs to sign off on the S&P with the buyer.

    I also notice that the media has another obsession with the takeover being conducted in public. There may have been a Confidentiality Clause in the Heads of Terms preventing disclosure during the period of Due Diligence. However, once the S&P has been signed, and assuming that there is no further Confidentiality Clause in the S&P itself, both Buyer and Seller are free to publicise the transaction.

    I have no idea what kind of “terms” or documentation has been submitted to the Premier League as intimated by BZG, but if the S&P has been signed, then it would be difficult for Mike Ashley to back out unless he wants to have his pants sued. And assuming Due Diligence has been completed and satisfactory, then the sole remaining obstacle / condition precedent to be satisfied will be the Fit and Proper Person Assessment by the Premier League.


  4. Hi DT

    By a S&P am I right in assuming you’re talking about a Share and Purchase agreement (SPA)

    Also, in the previous thread by Roy Frankland -“What a little birdie told me at my desk in Dubai” what’s your take on what his colleagues said about his wife – “her company is the financial group tasked with putting the deal together for the real estate part, the stadium, etc.” has Ashley got NUFC split up in to little packages which BZG are dropping in to different divisions within the group?


  5. Hi RotG,

    Yes S&P refers to a sale & purchase agreement. In our case a share sale and purchase where Mike Ashley sells his shareholdings in the company that owns the club to BZG.

    Re “has Ashley got NUFC split up in to little packages which BZG are dropping in to different divisions within the group?” The short answer is no. My feel is that Roy Frankland’s colleague’s wife could either be with an asset manager or asset valuer or similar. They are not part of the BZG but are external vonsultants hired to give the necessary advice in order for the BZG to 1) complete their initial due diligence and 2) put together a business plan to present to the premier league. That’s my guess.


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