RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – A consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s Investment Fund has withdrawn a proposed take – over of Newcastle United, the English Premier League football club.
A statement from the investment group, which also included U.K. investor Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital and the family business of British entrepreneur Reuben Brothers said the decision was made with ‘a deep appreciation for the Newcastle community and its football club. We believe we caould have returned the club to the position of its history traditions and fans merit’.
Talks between the consortium and Michael Ashely, the British retail entrepreneur who owns the club, have been under way since last year on a proposed takeover, with a suggested price tag in the region of GPB 300m.
But the negotiations stalled after formal contracts were exchanged in April because of the need for formal approval from the English Premier League, whose rules govern ownership of clubs in the top rank.
The approval process was also delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic that led to cancellation of English football matches for three months.
‘The prolonged process under the current circumstances coupled with global uncertainty has rendered the potential investment no longer commercially viable’, a consortium statement said.
‘During the unforeseeable prolonged process the commercial agreement between the investment group and the club’s owners expired, and out investment thesis could not be sustained’, the consortium said.
It also noted that there was no clarity as to the circumstances under which the next season will start and the new norms will arise for matches, training and other facilities. The English football season is due to restart in September but issues relating to crowd attendance have not been finalized.
The takeover was overwhelmingly supported by fans of the 128 year old club, which boasts among the highest attendances in English football.
‘We feel great compassion for the fans with whom we shared a great commitment to help Newcastle harness its tremendous potential and build upon its impressive and historic legacy while working closely with the local community’, the statement added.
The takeover, with Saudi investors in the driving seat, was seen as part of the strategy to diversify the Kingdom’s interests as part of its Vision 2030 plan. PIF has spent nearly $8 billion on foreign investment since the pandemic hit global financial markets.
‘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 consortium said.
‘We would like to say that we truly appreciated your incredible expressions of support and your patience through this process. We are sorry it is not be’, the PIF-led consortium said.
PARIS, France – The Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia operated at full capacity on Sunday, with worshippers praying shoulder – to – shoulder for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began. This comes after Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry approved easing the country’s strict COVID – 19 precautionary … More Saudi Arabia Allows Capacity At Mecca’s Grand Mosque As COVID – 19 Rules Eased
DOHA – Qatar’s emir named two women among his new appointment to the Gulf state’s advisory Shura Council on Thursday, after partial elections held for the first time earlier this month saw not one of the more than 20 women candidates a seat. In what was Qatar’s first legislative election, candidates competed for 30 of … More Qatar Emir Appoints Two Women To Advisory Council After Men Sweep Polls
PARIS, France – Demand for energy and especially natural gas is peaking, the oil minister of the United Arab Emirates said on Thursday, adding that it was important to maintain balance in the market. The minister, who was speaking on the sidelines of an energy forum in Moscow, also said that the United Arab Emirates … More UAE Oil Minister Says Energy Demand Peaking, Important To Maintain Market Balance