Newcastle takeover: Mike Ashley still ‘100% committed’ to Saudi deal – Lee Charnley

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The proposed £300m Newcastle takeover deal was 80% financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is “100% committed” to the Saudi Arabian-backed takeover of the club, says managing director Lee Charnley.

On Thursday, the consortium aiming to buy the club for £300m said it was pulling out with “regret” after losing patience with delays.

The deal had been scrutinised under the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test for almost four months.

But in a statement, Charnley seemed to suggest the deal could be resurrected.

He said: “We acknowledge the statement issued on Thursday. Never say never but, to be clear, Mike Ashley is 100% committed to this deal.

“However, our current focus must now be on supporting [manager] Steve Bruce in the transfer market and on the preparations for the new season.”

Newcastle fans have said they are “confused” and “heartbroken” after the takeover broke down.

A consortium, which included Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers, had agreed a deal to buy the club from Ashley in April.

But after the process was hampered by claims regarding Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and its handling of TV piracy, the buyers said the delays had brought about a change of course.

In a statement, the consortium also said the hold-up meant “the commercial agreement between the investment group and the club’s owners expired and our investment thesis could not be sustained”.

British financier Amanda Staveley, who headed the consortium, said the decision to pull out was “awful” as there would have been investment in the Newcastle area.

“We are devastated for the fans,” she added. “We really thank the fans – I personally thank them for all their support.”

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