Newcastle United £300m takeover deal moves closer

A Newcastle United takeover has moved into its final stages after an investor group fronted by British businesswoman Amanda Staveley and led by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund reached a £300m agreement with Mike Ashley.

If the takeover is approved by the Premier League, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund [PIF], which is directly controlled by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is expected to acquire an 80 per cent stake in the club.

Staveley’s company, PCP Capital Partners, will take a 10 per cent shareholding. The remaining 10 per cent will be bought by the Reuben brothers, Simon and David, UK property developers and two of the richest men in the world with a net worth of around £18bn.

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A 31-page charge agreement lodged at Companies House on Tuesday lays the legal groundwork for the potential deal to be completed.

The documents also suggest that Ashley will be loaning PCP Capital Partners £150m in an attempt to get an agreement over the line. However, The Independent understands this ‘vendor loan agreement’ will not result in Staveley owing money to Ashley.

The Premier League has been informed of the potential deal and has now started its process of carrying out checks on the respective parties under its owners and directors test. The sale of the club is now contingent on both the governing body’s ruling and the finalising of the deal’s small print.

Ashley said in October 2017 that he wanted to sell the club after 10 highly controversial years in charge.

Staveley first attempted to buy Newcastle United in 2017, only for the prospective deal to collapse early in 2018 amid reports she had failed to meet Ashley’s £350m asking price. A source close to Ashley told The Independent at the time: “It is only right to let the fans know that there is no deal on the table or even under discussion with Amanda Staveley and PCP. Attempting to reach a deal have proved to be exhausting, frustrating and a complete waste of time.”

She then reentered into negotiations with Ashley earlier this year, having formed an alliance with Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi PIF.

The £300m price of the club is less than Ashley’s initial demand, with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic thought to have had a significant negative impact on the value of the club.

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