After a series of controversies, Newcastle United's sale has been halted. Reportedly, a Saudi Arabian-backed consortium that was supposed to buy the Premier League side ahead of the upcoming season, has ended its bid.
The Saudi Arabian group includes the country's sovereign wealth fund PIF, along with PCP Capital Partners, and British billionaire brothers Simon and David Reuben. The group had initially agreed to take over the club's ownership from Mike Ashley in a deal worth £300 million. But now, it won't happen, according to the latest developments.
BBC reports that PIF's patience ran out after the Premier League's owners and directors took too long to scrutinise the deal. The group was in talks with the current owners of the club since April, but even when July has come to an end, there hasn't been any positive development as far as the league authority's consent is concerned.
Before pulling out of the deal, the consortium said that it "regrets" its latest decision. A British businesswoman behind PCP Partners, Amanda Staveley, admitted that she was upset for the club's supporters.
In an interview, she said, "It's awful. We are devastated for the fans. We really thank the fans - I personally thank them for all their support." Staveley also said that the group was planning huge investments for the development of the club.
The investor group said, "As an autonomous and purely commercial investor, our focus was on building long-term value for the club, its fans and the community as we remained committed to collaboration, practicality, and proactivity through a difficult period of global uncertainty and significant challenges for the fans and the club. Ultimately, during the unforeseeably prolonged process, the commercial agreement between the Investment Group and the club's owners expired and our investment thesis could not be sustained."
It is expected that the withdrawal of the consortium could lead to the opportunity for American entrepreneur Henry Mauriss to take over the English club. It is understood that Mauriss is still keen on the acquisition.
The consortium's withdrawal came following concerns about piracy and human rights complaints regarding the kingdom. Previously, Amnesty International had asked the league to block the bid since the fund was overseen by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Critics had also raised concerns regarding Saudi Arabia's response to cases related to the unauthorised broadcasting of Premier League matches in the country.