An interesting development took place this morning that adds another twist in the Newcastle United takeover saga.
The World Trade Organisation released a report yesterday that has dampened the spirit of the Newcastle fan base to a large extent.
The 125-page World Trade Organisation (WTO) report states that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was behind beoutQ, and the ruling now raises serious questions over whether the Premier League can approve the £300m takeover bid from the Saudi consortium.
And within the next 24 hours, reports emerged that American businessman Henry Mauriss and his firm have lodged a formal offer to buy Newcastle United. The timing of the proposal is interesting and it has created further confusion.
We all know that Mike Ashley has already agreed a £300m deal to sell Newcastle, and a part payment has already been paid, which is non-refundable. The potential new owners – the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Reuben Brothers and PCP Capital Partners – are waiting for the final verdict from the Premier League.
According to reports from The Chronicle, the proposal from Mauriss is worth £350 million, although the current regime is yet to comment on that offer.
Lee Ryder of The Chronicle has just said in a Q/A session that it could be a PR Stunt as well.
“All the way through this there’s been suggestions of exactly the same for various bidders. A suggestion of a PR stunt. But who gains something from that? The Mauriss bid comes from people close to the discussions,” said Ryder.
“There’s a lot of questions still to be answered, but the fact that Sky Sports, ITV, BBC and a fair few national journalists have picked up this morning’s story means they have checked things out too, they will have all been told the same thing. Now the question is does the US businessman have the funds and is Ashley in a position to sell to somebody else?”
There are a lot of grey areas in this proposed bid. Is Mike Ashley in a position now to accept a higher bid? However, one thing is clear. If the Saudi bid falls through, Ashley has another potential buyer on the wings.