Exclusive - Newcastle United's potential new owners remain confident that their takeover bid will go through in the coming weeks, despite lingering concerns over the legality of their deal and a new competitor entering the equation.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia has tabled a £300m offer for the Tyneside club, working alongside Amanda Staveley’s firm PCP Capital, and the Reuben brothers - both of whom would represent minority shareholdings of 10%.
But upon owner Mike Ashley accepting the bid - and with the deal edging closer to completion - the Premier League stepped in. The governing body is deliberating over the agreement amid concerns raised by a number of clubs regarding the involvement of the Saudi consortium, with the prospective new owners waiting since May to discover their fate.
Amid all of the uncertainty, sources have told 90min that there is confidence within both the club and the PIF group that the deal will be accepted by the Premier League.
The main stumbling block which they are fighting stems from Saudi Arabia's potential involvement in - and subsequent lack of action against - the illegal showing of Premier League games, and also blocking out Qatar’s beIN Sports; the company which owns the rights to the matches in the area.
However, despite plenty of unhappy clubs and other media rights holders voicing their displeasure in the takeover, those involved in the deal are convinced their bid has ticked every necessary box, and their advances won't be rejected by the Premier League.
This comes as great news for current boss Ashley, who is anxious for the deal to reach its conclusion, and he has been assured by high-level sources that the sale will go through.
But a further complication could arise in the form of a new party. News of Henry Mauriss' interest in Newcastle was reported on Wednesday afternoon by Sky Sports, and the American businessman has tabled a £350m offer to rival that of the PIF.
Mauriss is the CEO of ClearTV, a company which was founded in 2014, based near Los Angeles. They own a portfolio of television platforms which provide content to audiences inside airports, healthcare facilities and on social media.
The media tycoon has thrown his hat into the ring, making sure he is next in line should the Saudi takeover fall through at the final hurdle. It is understood that he would like to be in charge before the 2020/21 season kicks off, putting pressure on a swift and timely deal to be struck.
But it remains to be seen how far that potential takeover attempt could go, given that PIF are confident their own offer will get the nod sooner rather than later.
In fact, a source close to the club told 90min: “The club wants this done, and they want the PIF takeover to get the green light from the Premier League and confidence remains that will happen, despite the offer from Henry Mauriss - which is genuine.”
Source : 90min