Newcastle United takeover deal close - Club understood to be worth £300m
Amanda Staveley leading a bid that includes Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund
A Newcastle United takeover is edging closer after new documents revealed that club owner Mike Ashley has entered into a charge agreement with potential buyer Amanda Staveley. Staveley is believed to want a 10% stake in Newcastle, she first attempted to buy the club in 2018 and is now head of a bid involving Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund and the Reuben Brothers.
The charge agreement lodged at Companies House prepares the legal groundwork for a potential sale to be completed. The documents include details of a £150m claim related to Staveley's firm, PCP Capital Partners, and its long-running legal case against Barclays Bank PLC.
Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund was reported as being involved in a takeover in January 2020. Talks were apparently "advanced" but "complicated" with criticism surrounding Saudi Arabia's human rights record from Amnesty International.
The English Premier League have been informed of the potential deal and are reportedly under way to decide if the potential buyers pass the checks under its owners and directors test.
Sports finance expert Kieran Maguire told BBC Sport: "These are steps you'd expect to take place in respect of a takeover, it seems that things have accelerated.
"The trouble with Mike Ashley is that until you see the final documents, it's never completed but the other parties would not waste their time like this unless there had been progress in terms of a takeover."
Mike Ashley took charge of the club in 2007 with Newcastle now understood to be worth £300m. Ashley said in October 2017 he wanted to sell the club after 10 years in charge but has held on despite protests against his leadership.
Supporters have criticised Ashley for a lack of ambition and charging fans for next season's season tickets despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
There was also disappointment at Newcastle being one of three Premier League clubs to place their non-playing staff on furlough instead of being covered directly by Ashley, who has a reported net worth of 2.6 billion USD in 2020.