Mike Ashley takes action to try force through Newcastle’s Saudi-led takeover bid

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has taken action as he still looks to sell the club to the Saudi Public Investment Fund.

A £300m takeover looked close earlier in the year though the PIF withdrew in July, citing delays and post-Covid economic problems.

Newcastle and the Premier League remain at loggerheads over the takeover with the Magpies recently issuing a statement accusing Premier League chief Richard Masters of acting inappropriately, and claiming the league had rejected the deal “in its owners and directors test.”

But Ashley is still hopeful of getting a deal done and has now engaged top sports QC Nick De Marco in a bid to force through the takeover.

Blackstone Chambers today revealed that “Shaheed Fatima QC and Nick De Marco QC are acting for Newcastle United FC and Mike Ashley (instructed by Dentons) in a dispute with the Premier League about its rejection of a takeover bid made by PCP Capital Partners, the Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) based on its Owners and Directors test.”

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It comes after the Premier League had hit back at Newcastle, saying the deal can still go ahead.

The League said: “The club's assertion that the Premier League has rejected the takeover is incorrect.

“The Premier League Board has, on a number of occasions, given its opinion about which entities it believes would have control over the club should the consortium proceed with the acquisition. That opinion is based on legal advice.

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“This means the potential takeover could proceed to the next stage should the relevant entities provide all appropriate information. They would then be subject to a suitability assessment by the Board.

“As an alternative, the Board has repeatedly offered independent arbitration as a way forward since June.”

On the field, Newcastle got the new season off to a perfect start with a 2-0 win at West Ham on Saturday.

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