Newcastle takeover talks reach stalemate
Newcastle United takeover talks have reached a stalemate that could see the collapse of the bid from the
consortium, fronted by Amanda Staveley, to buy the club from current owner Mike Ashley.
Staveley had an offer of less than £300 million turned down more than a fortnight ago and has not returned with an improved offer since, despite being told that she was nowhere near the asking price with her initial approach. Instead, there has been a slight change in the terms of payment, with the money offered in one lump sum, rather than in performance-related instalments. But the gap between their respective valuations remains a huge barrier to a deal being done.
Given that Staveley was told the opening bid was not thought
to be a serious offer, the failure to improve it has left any hopes that a takeover could be completed to fade dramatically.
Ashley has even started to question whether Staveley is serious about buying the club because of the lack of progress since the opening bid was made, although those close to Staveley insist that she is merely negotiating a fair price. Given Ashley’s track record in business, she may well be disappointed because he has rarely backed down.
As revealed by Telegraph Sport, Ashley had been hoping initial contact from another interested party last week would lead to a rival bid, but those talks have also failed to
progress and Staveley’s offer remains the only one on the table.
A source close to the talks has told Telegraph Sport that both Ashley and Staveley are refusing to budge and the deal could be wrecked by the fact that neither wants to be seen to buckle.
A compromise price of around £300 million could be achieved, but at the moment Ashley has
Playing hardball: Amanda Staveley refused to increase her consortium’s £300m offer stated he wants well in excess of that figure and is waiting for Staveley to make the next move.
In turn, Staveley has denied reports that she will walk away if he does not accept the offer that is currently on the table.
Ashley is frustrated but he will not walk away from the negotiations at this stage, despite previously saying that if he did not find a buyer before Christmas he would take the club off the market.
As manager Rafa Benitez continues to push for money to be spent in the January transfer window, there will be pressure on Ashley to allow him to strengthen if he does not sever ties in the New Year.