The new Premier League TV deal should push Newcastle United closer to a change of ownership – if interested parties and Mike Ashley are really “serious” about any deal.
That is the verdict of football finance expert Kieran Maguire, who believes that the fall-out from the new deal – which saw BT Sports and Sky Sports pay £4.464billion for five of the seven packages available – should solidify the approach of both parties.
Although there are still two packages to sell, the TV deal represents a slight fall in the likely revenues to Premier League clubs. It’s understood that Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners, who say they remain very interested in brokering a deal for Newcastle, factored that into all of the offers the made for the club.
Maguire – who knows individuals involved in the selling process – believes that Ashley was hoping for a major upturn in the deal and that reducing one of several major areas of “uncertainty” should focus minds in the takeover process, which has fallen silent since the burst of energy that followed the owner’s strong comments towards Staveley in January.
“I think Mike Ashley was gambling – he is a gambler,” he said.
“He was gambling on a 15-20% rise in the domestic TV rates and given that they have not managed to sell the final packages and the Premier League has gone back to the drawing board to try and sell them, I think we can assume they’ll be £300-400million short on the previous deals.
“If Mike Ashley was banking on this deal going up by 15-20% and they are actually down 10% that will have an impact on what Amanda Staveley or anyone else who is interested in buying Newcastle is going to pay. So I think it does have an impact from that perspective.
“It also has an impact from the perspective that one of the biggest issues in any prospective takeover is uncertainty. And the TV deal was one of the areas of uncertainty and when we find out exactly what the TV deal will be when the final two packages are sold, that uncertainty will disappear.
“I think given Ashley has probably factored in a rise in the domestic TV deal, we should – in theory – see a narrowing of the difference between the asking price and the price that Amanda Staveley should be willing to pay. I think this allows them to reach a conclusion if both parties are serious about this transaction.”
The domestic TV deal was one of two major areas of uncertainty when talks began between the two parties. The other was the club’s Premier League status and that remains an ongoing concern with United just three points away from the bottom three.