When the Saudi deal seemingly collapsed, and you have to say seemingly because of the commentary that has been running since, Mike Ashley supposedly turned to ‘Plan B’ and invited the mysterious Mr Mauriss to make his move.
According to reports from several sources, the most vociferous being Luke Edwards, Mauriss was ready to move quickly after somehow bettering the offer that the Saudi’s put on the table many months ago.
Whilst PIF, PCP and The Ruebens saw a bid of £300m accepted, Mauriss was supposedly willing to meet Ashley’s original asking price of £350m. However, nothing has come out from the American camp, who have been as silent as The Premier League.
Nevertheless, we were assured by several in the media that Mr Mauriss was going to act quickly once the Saudis ‘withdrew’ their bid a fortnight ago. Many of us Mags were suspicious and our fears appear to have been justified based on the reports emerging on Mauriss’ disappearance – just at a time we were told he’d emerge and save the day!
The Chronicle claim Ashley is ‘losing his patience’ and ‘frustrated’ by the lack of progress made, telling the US media mogul to put his money where his mouth is.
Then to The Mirror’s Simon Bird, who writes that Mauriss’ ‘bid’ is in doubt. That said, was it every actually alive? I’m not so sure. Bird states that Mike Ashley looks set to start the season as Newcastle United owner – despite being keen to sell up – because no quick resolution his plan B has not been forthcoming.
So many thought this smelt fishy from the off and I can’t help but feel this is the completion of his PR stunt, with it seeming very telling that he piped up (via the media at least) when a deal wasn’t there to be done, but disappears when it he had an open goal and a clear run at the club following the Saudis withdrawal.
There is no word of Mauriss’s net worth being publicly available, nor a valuation on his current media company, although he was responsible for purchasing, converting, and reselling over $7billion via portfolio trades at Credit America. But still, his net worth is reputedly nowhere near that of the Saudi PIF.
It’s more deafening silence. Now, some conspiracy theorists may like to tell you that the reason there’s silence is because the business is being conducted behind closed doors and in a confidential business way.
For me, I have to question whether a bid was ever in the offering from Henry – a man that supposedly was introduced to Ashley by convicted fraudster Chris Ronnie. Ronnie a former chief executive officer of JJB Sports, from June 2007 to March 2009.
On 20 November 2014, Ronnie was convicted of three counts of fraud and two of furnishing false information sentenced in December 2014 to four and a half years in jail and banned indefinitely from acting as a company director. Hardly the most impressive CV.
Money of course talks and sometimes quietly but I wonder ‘Where’s Henry Gone’ or indeed if he was ever in the offering in the first place given the lack of information and clarity coming from the speculation.
Was it Ashley’s counterbluff to the Saudi’s and/or The Premier League to force the issue. Who knows but once again it’s another intriguing if not confirmed story doing the rounds? I guess we might know by the weekend given that Friday is said to be Mauriss’ put up or shut-p deadline.