Newcastle United’s £300 million takeover bid by a Saudi Arabia backed consortium has collapsed. The consortium, comprising Saudi sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund, Reuben Brothers and PCP Capital Partners, has confirmed the decision to withdraw the proposal.
Saudi Public Investment Fund was reportedly contributing 80% of the £ 300 million deal to acquire the Premier League club from Mike Ashley.
Announcing the end of the proposed deal, the investor group has stated that “as an autonomous and purely commercial investor, our focus was on building long-term value for the club, its fans and the community as we remained committed to collaboration, practicality and proactivity through a difficult period of global uncertainty and significant challenges for the fans and the club”.
“Ultimately, during the unforeseeably prolonged process, the commercial agreement between the Investment Group and the club’s owners expired and our investment thesis could not be sustained.”
According to the BCC, American entrepreneur Henry Mauriss, who has registered his interest in Newcastle and remains extremely keen for the acquisition to happen, may now step in to acquire the club.
The Premier League CEO Richard Masters had suggested last month that the proposed takeover had become complicated.
The Premier League was reportedly seeking clarification of the links between the Saudi State and the PIF, which gas Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as its chairman.
The takeover was also opposed by British human rights groups and murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.
“Let this defeat send a strong message to the leadership in Saudi Arabia that they will not be able to use their money to cover up their human rights record or protect those responsible for Jamal’s murder,” BBC has quoted Hatice as saying following the collapse of the bid.
“We will not stop and we will not rest until we get justice for Jamal.”
Amnesty International UK’s economic affairs programme director Peter Frankental has termed the failed bid an attempt by the Saudi Arabia Government to “sportswash” their human rights record.
“The fact that this sportswashing bid has failed will be seen by human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia as a sign that their suffering has not been entirely overlooked,” he said.