According to the Times, Newcastle United officials have now sent paperwork to the Premier League outlining the proposed takeover of the club by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia.
They report that the Premier League have been contacted by Newcastle United – which they deem to be a ‘significant’ move in the takeover process and ‘the clearest sign yet of Ashley’s renewed intention to sell’.
Interestingly, they also claim that conversations have taken place regarding a ‘reduced price’ following the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting the Saudi PIF could look to complete a deal nearer the £300m mark.
Here’s a snippet from the Times’ latest piece from senior reports Martin Hardy and Matt Lawton:
The group bidding to take control of Newcastle United are seeking to lower the asking price in light of the huge uncertainty in football because of coronavirus.
The Times understands that Newcastle officials have sent paperwork to the Premier League outlining the proposed takeover of the club by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, a move that is seen as significant.
Negotiations about finally ending Mike Ashley’s 13 years in charge at St James’ Park began before the emergence of the Covid-19 virus that has ground the Premier League to a complete halt.
That has sparked conversations about a ‘reduced price’ in order to facilitate the sale. Ashley has varied the asking price for the north east club in recent years between £300 to £400 million.
The initial price that was put forward by PIF was believed to be in the region of £340 million. The figure offered now is thought to have dropped from there, to nearer £300 million.
A deal has still to be agreed and there are various stages for the process to go through, but the Premier League receiving details of the proposed bid from Newcastle is the clearest sign yet of Ashley’s renewed intention to sell.
Staveley was unavailable for comment on Monday. Newcastle also issued ‘no comment’ when approached by The Times to comment on the latest developments in the potential takeover.
In 2018, Staveley was unable to provide the funding for a takeover of the Premier League club. The same situation happened with the attempted takeover by the former Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon. Those failed talks are believed to have cost Newcastle £1 million in legal fees, a major factor in their continued cautious approach to any potential change of ownership.
Another promising story from senior sources at a pretty reliable paper in the Times.
This also follows on from George Caulkin’s promising piece for the Athletic last night, which claimed that a deal is now ‘close’ and on course to be completed as things stand.
I wouldn’t get your cans out of the fridge just yet, but maybe it’s time to accept that this is at least genuine and a deal only the unpredictable Mike Ashley can scupper from here?
Sadly, that last line remains the ongoing worry until it’s officially done..