Newcastle Open Takeover Talks With Saudi Arabia's Sovereign-Wealth Fund

Saudi Arabia's sovereign-wealth fund is understood to be in talks with Newcastle over a potential takeover worth £340m.

Current Magpies owner Mike Ashley has claimed to be interested in selling the club for a number of years and his tenure has been marked by significant supporter discontent. 

But, as yet, no deal has ever materialised, much to the dismay of Newcastle's supporters, who have campaigned over a number of years against Ashley's ownership.

Newcastle United v Manchester City - Premier League

Moves such as sacking club legend Kevin Keegan in 2008, renaming St James' Park to the Sports Direct Arena and signing a sponsorship deal with payday loan provider Wonga have all contributed to his negative perception amongst the Magpies fanbase.

Most recently, Ashley was reported to be ​in discussions with US firm General American Capital Partners (GACP) over the sale of the club.

"I can certainly confirm interest. I will confirm that I've had conversations with Mike Ashley's top representative. I would describe those conversations as very positive," GACP chairman Joseph DaGrosca told the NBC Sports (via the Daily Mail).

"I would say Mike Ashley and his team are a lot easier and a lot friendlier and business savvy than anyone gives them credit for. We're still talking. I'm not sure we're going to reach an agreement, but that's certainly not because of either side's intractability or unwillingness to move forward."

These talks have now gone quiet, however, Magpies fans have been offered fresh hope that the club will be sold by a Wall Street Journal report claiming that a Saudi Arabian sovereign-wealth fund is interested in the acquisition.

Mike Ashley

Public Investment Fund, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s key investment tool, together with a group of investors organised by British financier Amanda Staveley - who has previously submitted a bid for the club herself in 2017 - are said to be readying a £340m offer. A final agreement could be 'days or weeks away', though the tentative deal 'could still break down'.

The takeover could lead to significant investment in Newcastle, similar to the injection of capital that Manchester City received following their takeover by an Abu Dhabi investment group in 2008.

But caution will likely be applied - as Newcastle have seen it all, heard it all and ended up with nothing to show for it many times before.

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Source : 90min