Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley continues to keep the club in the shop window over a potential sale, but it looks as though one American ownership group won’t be able to seal the deal, despite some recent media speculation.
General American Capital Partners CEO and Chairman Joseph DaGrosa confirmed in an interview with Pro Soccer Talk that despite positive talks between his group and Newcastle, a deal to purchase the Premier League club was looking unlikely as of press time. Although DaGrosa didn’t mention a specific reason, it’s likely that Ashley’s high valuation, or a lack of capital partners to help leverage the sale, have meant Ashley will continue to be looking for a new steward for the club.
“I can certainly confirm interest,” DaGrosa said in a phone interview. “I will confirm that I’ve had conversations with Mike Ashley’s top representative. I would describe those conversations as very positive. I would say Mike Ashley and his team are a lot easier and a lot friendlier and business savvy than anyone gives them credit for. We’re still talking. I’m not sure we’re going to reach an agreement, but that’s certainly not because of either side’s intractability or unwillingness to move forward.”
The news is a bit of a blow to Newcastle fans, who again were hoping that this holiday season would bring them relief from the Ashley ownership group. Ironically, Newcastle is having its best season in years, and currently sits in 9th place in the table with 25 points from 18 matches.
It was thought that recent events could have sped up a purchase for Newcastle from GACP Sports. On December 16, Bordeaux announced that GACP Sports had sold its stake in the club from King Street Capital Management, just 18 months after helping lead the takeover of the Ligue 1 club. According to DaGrosa, the departure was over a difference in management styles between King Street and his group.
“As we publicly announced, it was really based on irreconcilable differences with the management and operations of the club,” DaGrosa said. “We thought it was in the best interest of the club and the fans to part ways. Both sides, GACP and King Street recognized that having that much uncertainty as to how the club was going to be run going forward wasn’t in anyone’s interest, so we decided that we would do our best to part ways amicably, which we’ve done, and I certainly wish the team nothing but success going forward.”
DaGrosa lauded his business partner Hugo Varela’s work behind the scenes, making hires at coach and academy levels to turn around Bordeaux’s fortunes this season. After finishing 14th last year, Bordeaux is currently in the top ten. The on-field success would have been enticing to Newcastle fans who are desperate for some serious investment in the playing squad and coaching staff.
Even with GACP Sports gone from Bordeaux and unlikely to take over Newcastle, DaGrosa hinted they’ll be back in soccer ownership sooner rather than later.
“In terms of our other plans, we’ve maintained all along we want to be players in sports, particularly soccer, and we’re looking not only in Europe but in South America right now,” DaGrosa said. “Negotiations are going on right now with a couple of clubs, and I think the best is yet to come for GACP Sports.”