It has been a turbulent 24 hours in the soap opera that is the Newcastle United Takeover. With yesterday’s WTO report being made public, I made good reading for a potential takeover by the consortium of PIF, PCP and the Reuben Brothers, in the fact that PIF or anyone associated was named in the document. It did however state that the Saudi Government hasn’t done nearly enough legally to prosecute BeoutQ, or those responsible. There have been a few different interpretations of the report, but mine is that in regards to the takeover all is well!
Which brings us nicely onto today. Reports have started surfacing this morning that American Businessman Henry Mauriss has lodged a ‘bid’ worth £350 million for Newcastle United.
Not a lot is known about the American businessman, to the point that when you look at each report about him and his wealth, the bulk will talk about the Saudi’s wealth, as there is little to no information about his personal wealth, or the value of his company Clear TV.
£350 million bid?
But regardless of the man, the bid and it’s timing make little to no sense. Reports that a bid is lodged not even 24 hours after the WTO report came out, make the timing suspect in my mind. Have his lawyers advised him now is the time, as they feel the Saudi bid will be turned away by the Premier League at this late stage. Has his go between, between him and Mike Ashley advised him now could be the time? Or is it something else?
It seems suspect that reports have suggested he has been talking to Ashley since March, yet would only make a ‘bid’ 24 hours removed from the publication of the WTO report?! It screams to me of a chancer, someone who will swoop in when they think it could be advantageous to themselves, who does that remind you off?
The money involved in the bid makes even less sense than the timing. It has been widely reported that the ACCEPTED bid from the PIF consortium is for £300 million, where Mr Mauriss has decided to up his bid to £350 million.
This could be for a number of reasons. We don’t know realistically how long he has been talking to Ashley, and whether first contact between the two had £350 million as the asking price, and talks were held before lockdown and covid-19 changed the landscape for football finances. A move that you could argue makes PIF/PCP and the Reubens better negotiators in getting a £50 million reduction in price, or that Mauriss on dealing with Ashley just thought it’s easier to just accept the asking price at the time.
It could also be greed on Mike Ashley’s part. If the Saudi Takeover is not approved by the Premier League, Ashley as current owner of the club could have to fork out for refunds on tickets (Something the club still hasn’t communicated with fans!) and pay back some TV money to foreign stations that may ask the Premier League for a refund, even with games going ahead albeit behind closed doors. Could the extra £50 million be a way for Ashley to make his money back from the summer.
Like everything we are guessing on this Takeover, but you would think if it is nether of the above options, that raises questions as to Mr Mauriss ability. If for no other reason you have decided to up a previously accepted bid by a substantial amount, with no logic behind it, what is the sense? What does it say about his ability? Not a lot in my reckoning!
It also raises the question, can a bid be accepted? In short, and my understanding….NO! For all intents and purposes the club is sold, and is just awaiting the Premier League to pass over the keys to the (New)Castle. A non-refundable deposit has been payed, and paperwork signed. However that does not mean Mauriss has not contacted Ashley, or his lawyers to say: “If that one gets turned down, here is my proposal” which would be all fine and well.
There is of course a slight chance, this leak has come from sources close to Ashley! Less than 24 hours after the report many said the takeover hinged on, a new bid surfaces. Could this be Ashley saying to the Premier league, make a decision, because there is or possibly someone else waiting.
The thing we can all agree on that makes sense in all of this, is: Mike Ashley has washed his hands of the whole thing and doesn’t want anything more to do with the club, and the sooner this is over the better!