Takeover talks between Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and Dubai-based billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan have this evening been confirmed.
Ashley’s turbulent reign
Current Magpies’ owner Ashley has run the rule over proceedings at St. James’ Park for the last 12 years.
A somewhat surprising deal in 2007 saw the Sports Direct mogul purchase Sir John Hall’s 41% majority stake in Newcastle, for a fee of around £55 million.
However, to say that Ashley’s time at the helm of the Geordie outfit has since been tumultuous would be putting it lightly.
A lack of investment in the club has seen Newcastle relegated to the Championship twice over the space of Ashley’s reign, with the Magpies’ loyal fanbase having made their understandable frustrations increasingly-clear over recent seasons:
WATCH: Newcastle fans protest in the town centre against owner Mike Ashley ahead of today’s game v Spurs. pic.twitter.com/snrmAcWr3D
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 11, 2018
Newcastle takeover imminent?
As such, breaking news this evening that negotiations over Newcastle’s sale are now well under way will no doubt come as music to the ears of the club’s fans.
In an official statement a short time ago, the Dubai-based Bin Zayed Group confirmed negotiations over buying Ashley out of his stake at St. James’:
‘We can confirm the representatives of his Highness Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan are in discussions with Mike Ashley and his team about the proposed acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club.’
‘We view it as an honour to have the opportunity to build on the strong support, history and tradition of the club.’
Quotes via the BBC.
In fact, Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan (cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour), who saw a £2 billion takeover attempt of Liverpool knocked back last year, even went as far as to state that terms over his purchase of Newcastle have been agreed:
Dubai-based billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan says he has “agreed terms” with Mike Ashley to buy Newcastle.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 27, 2019
The Magpies themselves, meanwhile, have since affirmed the validity of the Bin Zayed Group’s statement:
Sheikh Khaled confirms he’s agreed terms to buy NUFC from Mike Ashley. They say they’re working hard to complete the transaction. According to NUFC the statement is genuine #NUFCTakeover
— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) May 27, 2019
Any potential deal is expected to be worth around £350 million.