Saudi deal revival confidence grows as BNG Newcastle United takeover bid falters at first hurdle

Mike Ashley is yet to respond to the Bellagraph Nova Group's speculative bid for Newcastle United.

Saturday, 22nd August 2020, 7:00 am

Last week the Gazette broke the news of the group's takeover bid, with the French-based Singapore investment firm sending a £280 million bid to Ashley's lawyers, Dentons.

But, as things stand, BNG are yet to get a response to their offer, although they insist said bid is genuine and has been received by the legal professionals tasked with dealing with interest in United by the Sports Direct tycoon.

The BNG bid has been greeted with scepticism on Tyneside by a takeover-weary fanbase, who long for an end to the incessant deal talk almost as much as they want for the end of Ashley.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 10: Owner of Sports Direct and Newcastle United, Mike Ashley (L), arrives at the High Court on July 10, 2017 in London, England. Mr Ashley is defending himself against a lawsuit filed by former business associate Jeff Blue. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Sources close to the deal continue to insist they are the only genuine bid still on the table, following the pull-out of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia-led deal.

And despite talk of deal resurrection from the likes of Ashley, PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers, BNG hope to capitalise on the £300 million bid getting stuck in the mud over directorship and piracy by tempting the Newcastle owner to jump ship and get behind their deal.

Ashley's lack of response, more than a week after the bid was placed, perhaps speaks volumes about where this deal, and the Saudi one, stand at present.

Premier League chief Richard Masters put the ball firmly in PCP, PIF and the Reubens' court this week, doubling down on his insistence the deal was pulled by the Saudi party in the consortium due to a lack of willingness to provide all the relevant information, or go through an independent arbitration process on the issue of who actually controls the club, influence and shadow directorships.

Speaking to the Newcastle United Supporters Trust this week, Masters left the door ajar for the Saudis to return, but set out a clear framework which must be followed in order for the league to come a definitive decision on the matter.

It is understood talks remain on-going and, as per reports elsewhere, confidence remains relatively high a compromise can be brokered - but after months and months of waiting, United fans are left asking themselves how much faith they have in the buyers-in-waiting's confidence. And what the short-term future holds for a Newcastle under Ashley, who wants away from Tyneside now more than ever before.