Mike Ashley

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Report: Takeover bid would put $660m in Newcastle transfer kitty

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When the summer transfer window closed, there were rumors that Rafa Benitez, furious with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s refusal to live up to his war chest promises, would leave the Northeast regardless of what it meant for his checkbook.

Now, Benitez may get a huge pay-off and stay at Newcastle United.

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Ashley has reportedly put the Premier League club up for sale, and one of the biggest names mentioned is Amanda Staveley. She’s helped organized takeover bids for Manchester City and Liverpool and, like most prospective owners, has plenty of money.

And, as if to get the Magpies support even more excited at the prospect of new blood in the ownership seats… From The Express:

While Staveley who controls around £30 billion of capital through her PCP Capital Partners firm also advised a group Dubai-based investors during a bid to buy Liverpool.

And Benitez will be given substantial funds on new players as much as £500 million in the next two transfer windows to turn Newcastle into title contenders.
Putting those figures into dollars lends an interesting perspective to how much money and prestige there is in football, in particular the Premier League. Staveley is said to have a hold on $40 billion — for an American angle, that’s more than 13 times the president’s net worth — and is ready to provide almost $660 million in investiture.

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Mike Ashley puts Newcastle United up for sale

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Newcastle United is up for sale. That sound you can hear is Magpies fans around the globe rejoicing.

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Much-maligned owner Mike Ashley has long said he would sell the club if a viable buyer arrived and it appears the time is now.

Ashley bought Newcastle back in 2007 and has overseen two relegations from the Premier League, plus has been heavily criticized for not spending enough on the playing squad.

The businessman wants to sell the club by Christmas and in a statement the club said it would “give interested parties the opportunity of deferring substantial payment.” In simpler terms: Ashley will give potential buyers a chance to pay the full fee in installments.

With investment specialist Amanda Staveley seen at a recent Newcastle vs. Liverpool game, speculation was rife that a new owner was being lined up to buy Newcastle. That is indeed the case.

Staveley oversaw the purchase of Manchester City by Abu Dhabi United and also lined up a deal for Liverpool to be bought by Dubai International Captial which fell through. Her investment management company, PCP Capital Partners, is rumored to be involved in any potential sale of Newcastle.

Below is a statement released by the club via St. James’ Holdings limited, the company which owns Newcastle.

As a result of increasing press speculation regarding the future of Newcastle United, the owner of the club, St. James Holdings Limited, wishes to clarify its intentions.

As one of the Premier League’s oldest and best supported football clubs – and for the benefit of its many fans and supporters in the UK and across the world – Newcastle United requires a clear direction and a path to a bright and successful future.

To give the club the best possible opportunity of securing the positioning and investment necessary to take it to the next level, at what is an important time in its history, its present ownership has determined that it is in the best interests of Newcastle United and its fans for the club to be put up for sale.

To give an incoming owner the maximum possible flexibility to make meaningful investment in the club, including in its playing squad, the sale process will give interested parties the opportunity of deferring substantial payments.

A process will now commence of identifying new ownership for the club that will be capable of delivering the sustained investment in and dedication to the club that is necessary for it to achieve its ambitions.

Report: Rafa Benitez open to leaving Newcastle

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Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez could be on his way out of the club just three weeks into the start of the Premier League season.

According to a report in The Guardian, Benitez’s relationship with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has soured to the point that he’s open to taking other similar-sized jobs in the Premier League, or perhaps even abroad.

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The report states that Benitez would be open to taking the West Ham job should Slaven Bilic lose his position in the coming weeks.

Following Newcastle’s Championship winning season, owner Ashley reportedly promised Benitez he’d be able to spend freely in the transfer market. However, the club were only able to bring in seven players while releasing 12 others. The club also failed to sign any new reinforcements on deadline day.

Through three weeks, Newcastle is currently in 14th place in the Premier League, with one win and two losses.

Report: Chinese investors aim to woo Newcastle United’s Ashley

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Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has consistently claimed his club is not for sale, saying he won’t leave the helm without a trophy.

He said he’s “wedded to the club” whether they like it or not, but apparently interest from China has him questioning his fidelity.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

The Northeast Chronicle says success in attracting shirt sponsor Fun88 from China has Ashley’s head turned to the Far East.

There’s no “firm bid” yet, according to the report:

It is believed that Ashley is open to all possibilities including offering any consortium or group a share in the club. Ashley once said he wouldn’t sell the club until he’d won something or qualified for the Champions League.

But after a decade under Ashley’s tenure, United could very well be up for grabs if somebody shows serious interest.

This is a major development for Newcastle, as supporters have questioned Ashley’s ambition and acumen. At the same time, Premier League owners have become extremely skeptical of takeover bids from lesser known foreign groups.

Rafa Benitez to have total control at Newcastle, including player sales

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Usually, when teams are relegated to the Championship, squad salaries must be reevaluated to make ends meet, often meaning the axe for players who are deemed too costly.

That won’t be the case with Newcastle next season.

With manager Rafa Benitez back on board with the hopes of navigating the Magpies back to the Premier League as quickly as possible, owner Mike Ashley has handed Benitez the reigns.

Benitez confirmed he will have complete, unmitigated control of the squad roster in exchange for his services.

“What I have is the assurance that if I don’t want to sell any players I don’t have to,” Benitez said in his second unveiling as Newcastle manager. “We can keep all the players who we want to.”

But that’s not all. “For football business I will have responsibility. But the main thing is that I have had assurances we will have a strong team. We will have a winning team and the fans have to be sure I will try to build a strong squad. If I am sat here it is because I am sure we can do it. To clarify I am a person who likes to talk. But if I have to take responsibility I will, no problem.”

This is not only big news for anyone relegated to the Championship, but especially big news for a Mike Ashley club. Not even Sam Allardyce or Alan Pardew were given this type of total control of the club. Ashley knew he had little leverage with such a big name having fallen out of the Premier League, and he needed to make concessions to get his man.