PIF cites ‘prolonged process’ for Newcastle takeover collapse

Credit: Owen Humphreys/NMC Pool/PA Wire/PA Images

Newcastle United’s £300m takeover by Amanda Staveley, the Reuben brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) has officially been called off, with the three investors citing the ‘prolonged process’ along with ‘global uncertainty’ as the main reasons for terminating the deal.

The takeover, which would have seen PIF take an 80 per cent stake in the club, had initially been agreed in April. However, following months of negotiations with the Premier League regarding the purchase, the group has pulled out of the deal all together.

Issuing a joint statement, Amanda Staveley, the Reuben brothers and the PIF said: “With a deep appreciation for the Newcastle community and the significance of its football club, we have come to the decision to withdraw our interest in acquiring Newcastle United Football Club.

“Unfortunately, the prolonged process under the current circumstances coupled with global uncertainty has rendered the potential investment no longer commercially viable.

“To that end, we feel a responsibility to the fans to explain the lack of alternatives from an investment perspective.

“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.”

The statement continued: “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, particularly with no clarity as to the circumstances under which the next season will start and the new norms that will arise for matches, training and other activities.

“We would like to say that we truly appreciated your incredible expressions of support and your patience throughout this process. We are sorry it is not to be. We wish the team and everyone associated with it much good luck and success.”

Due to the PIF’s ties with the Saudi Arabian government, the deal had come into a lot of scrutiny from human rights campaigners claiming that the deal would harm the Premier League’s reputation.

Following the collapsed deal, the NUFC Supporters Trust also expressed their thoughts on the news, criticising a lack of communication regarding the takeover by all parties involved.

The Trust commented: “The supporters of Newcastle United have been treated with contempt by large parts of the football media and the Premier League during this failed takeover process.

“It’s been made clear that we are the least important people in a decision which affects us the most. We need answers.”

Insider Sport: As of right now the club remains in the hands of Mike Ashley with the likelihood being that this won’t change as the club goes into the 2020/21 season. However, whilst the PIF takeover is officially over, there is likely to be interest from other entities regarding the purchase of the North-East side.