Newcastle takeover called-off

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Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers have withdrawn from the process to buy Newcastle.

Papers regarding the proposed takeover were lodged with the Premier League in April and were still being scrutinised.

Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund (PIF) had been set to take an 80 per cent stake in the Premier League club under the terms of the deal, which was understood to be worth just over £300m.

But the Investment Group have now decided to end their interest, citing the worldwide uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the ‘prolonged process’ they found themselves involved in.

A statement read: “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.

“We do so with regret, as we were excited and fully committed to invest in the great city of Newcastle and believe we could have returned the club to the position of its history, tradition and fans’ merit.

“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.

“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.”

The end of the takeover bid leaves the North East club still in the hands of businessman Mike Ashley, who has long faced protests and opposition from the fans.

The decision will be a blow to Newcastle fans, who hoped the planned takeover might lead to significant investment in the club – who finished 13th in the recently concluded Premier League season.

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By Sky Sports

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