Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has revealed that the £305m takeover bid by a Saudi Arabia-backed consortium was not the highest offer he received for the club.
The consortium, made up of PCP Capital Partners, David and Simon Reuben and the Gulf state’s Public Investment Fund, started planning a bid in 2017 before making an offer three years later.
The Premier League initially blocked the purchase due to fears over the identities of the Saudi partners who would become directors at the club, as well as a dispute over broadcasting rights.
Ashley then launched two-fold legal action. The first was an arbitration between himself and the Premier League, while the second was a Competition Appeal Tribunal.
A breakthrough was made when Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on Qatar-owned beIN SPORTS. The Premier League then indicated that they would support the takeover – and Ashley also dropped his case, leaving no further roadblocks.
Speaking to The Sun, Ashley said that he wanted to ensure Newcastle had a bright future and that is why he was so determined to push this deal through.
“I would like it to be known that I received a higher offer for the club than the one that I accepted,” Ashley said.
“It was from another reputable bidder, who made a credible case. But I felt the bid that we accepted from the current new owners would deliver the best for Newcastle United. Money wasn’t my only consideration.”
Incoming Newcastle director Amanda Staveley outlined her vision for the club, believing they would be capable of becoming a force in England and on the continent.
“We’re proud to be part of the Premier League. It’s an incredibly competitive league, which we love. Premier League football is the best in the world, and Newcastle United is the best team in the world,” she said.
“We want to see it get those trophies, obviously. At top of the Premier League, in Europe, but to get trophies means patience, investment, time. We want everybody to work with us to build the club towards what it needs to be.”