PCP Capital Partners has agreed a deal to buy Newcastle United and end Mike Ashley’s 13-year tenure as the club’s owner, according to sources directly involved in the takeover.
This follows significant Companies House legal documentation that emerged on Tuesday morning, proving legal framework for a deal was being put in place by the two parties.
Sky Sports News reported in January Amanda Staveley's PCP Partners and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) were in talks to buy Newcastle. It is unclear as to why there is no mention of PIF in any of the Companies House documentation.
Supplementary documentation has led to claims Ashley is lending PCP money to help complete the deal. It has always been the case Ashley was willing to structure payments in a bid to reach a sale. The sale will be a cash deal, however that transaction will only take place once the Premier League has ratified the deal.
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Price agreed is closer to £300m
The price agreed by Ashley is closer to £300m, rather than the original asking price of around £340m and it is thought the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the value of the club.
The Saudi fund (PIF), controlled by Prince Mohammed bin Salman will hold 80 per cent of the club shares, while Amanda Staveley will hold 10 per cent of the shares and it is expected that she will play a key role in the running of the club.
Who is Amanda Staveley?
- Born in Ripon, Yorkshire in April 1973
- Married in 2011 to Iranian-born Mehrdad Ghodoussi. They have one child Lexi, born after Staveley went into labour during a business meeting
- The family have homes in Dubai and London's Park Lane
- She was spotted in the stands at St James' Park in October 2017 before Mike Ashley announced his intention to sell the club
- Staveley was credited with masterminding Sheikh Mansour's takeover of Man City from Thaksin Shinawatra in 2009
- Also in 2009, she was involved in a failed bid to take a controlling share in Liverpool, walking away when the Fenway Sports Group valued the club at £1bn
- She came close to purchasing Newcastle United in January 2018, through her finance vehicle PCP Capital Partners
The final 10 per cent will be controlled by billionaire brothers, David and Simon Reuben. They have significant property interests in the Newcastle area - including owning the city's racecourse.
If the Premier League ratify the deal, the prospective buyers are understood to have earmarked significant investment into the club.
Talks have been under way with the Saudi wealth fund for the past 12 months, with the deal being codenamed Project Zebra - reflecting the famous Newcastle kit.
Sky Sports News has contacted Newcastle for comment.
It is believed Ashley is presently at his Florida home in Miami, while Staveley is believed to be at her central London home.
Staveley had failed with a bid to buy the club in 2017, following lengthy negotiations.
Ashley has been in control at St James' Park since purchasing a majority stake in the club in 2007. Newcastle have been twice relegated from the Premier League during Ashley's reign, with supporters protesting on numerous occasions against his ownership.
The purchase would be a major coup - and the biggest move yet - for Saudi Arabia as it focuses on sports and entertainment. They recently hosted Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz's heavyweight world title fight in the Diriyah Arena and have also announced plans for a new F1 racetrack that will host a Grand Prix in 2023.
'Money would be paid back to Ashley in instalments'
Sky Sports News' Keith Downie:
Legal documentation emerged on Companies House this morning, proving finance changing hands and also a legal framework being put in place for the sale of Newcastle United Football Club.
According to Companies House, Mike Ashley is set to aid Amanda Staveley and her consortium, which involves the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, to the tune of £150m, with that money then paid back to Ashley in instalments in years to come.
Sources directly involved in the deal have indicated to Sky Sports News that in fact, advanced talks are taking place between the two parties. We reported back in January those talks had started and that legal documentation on Tuesday proves the story that Newcastle could finally be sold.
Newcastle were refusing to comment on Tuesday morning and Ashley is out of the country on lockdown in America.