Newcastle taking legal advice as failed £300m Saudi takeover is officially rejected by the Premier League with Mike Ashley furious top-flight chief Richard Masters did not ‘act appropriately’ during proceedings
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has sensationally accused Premier League chief executive Richard Masters of not acting ‘appropriately’ after the club confirmed the Saudi-led takeover had been officially rejected – and he is now considering legal action.
The £300million deal collapsed in July when the consortium – including Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers – withdrew from the process, claiming they had grown frustrated with the League’s refusal to accept that the buyers and the Saudi state were separate entities.
Ashley is understood to be furious with the Premier League and on Wednesday night released an explosive statement.
Mike Ashley accepted a £300m offer to sell Newcastle but it collapsed due to a stalemate over whether the Saudi Arabian state would be in control of the club
Newcastle are now taking legal advice after the Premier League formally rejected the takeover
Sportsmail understands Ashley has been told there is now a strong case for legal action against the League.
The statement read: ‘Newcastle United can confirm that the Premier League has rejected 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.
‘This conclusion has been reached despite the club providing the Premier League with overwhelming evidence and legal opinions that PIF is independent and autonomous of the Saudi Arabian government.
‘The club and its owners do not accept that Premier League chief executive Richard Masters and the Premier League have acted appropriately in relation to this matter and will be considering all relevant options available to them.
The Magpies ‘do not accept’ that Premier League chief Richard Masters ‘acted appropriately’
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is chairman of the consortium who tried to buy the club
‘Mike Ashley understands fans’ frustrations and would like to reassure them that he has been fully committed to ensuring this takeover process reached completion as he felt it was in the best interests of the club. Mike continues to be fully supportive to Steve Bruce, the players and all the staff and wishes them well for the upcoming season.’
Last month, Masters confirmed Sportsmail’s story that the takeover reached an impasse because the buyers would not confirm whether the Saudi Arabian state would ultimately be in control of the club.
PIF – which was due to take an 80 per cent stake of Newcastle – is Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and its chairman is Crown Price Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto head of Saudi Arabia.
But the consortium had only put forward the name of Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the PIF, as the Saudi representative on the new-look Newcastle board – and they refused the offer of arbitration to resolve the dispute.