Ashley open to joint consortium buyout
Two groups are both backed by US money for potential deal Toon tycoon remains determined to sell
Chief Newcastle United Writer NEWCASTLE United owner Mike Ashley is open to the prospect of two of the interested consortia joining forces.
The groups led by Peter Kenyon and Garry Cook are both backed by money from the USA, and the idea of them teaming up to complete a takeover is now being considered after being put to them by Ashley.
Kenyon’s interest in taking over from Ashley has been rubber-stamped by the emergence of a letter written by the ex-chelsea and Man United supremo last month.
In it he stated the group were “serious” about taking over the club after nearly 12 years of Ashley on Tyneside. Newcastle sources have confirmed the letter is genuine and four groups are still said to be in the race in the eyes of Ashley and his advisors.
However, it was suggested it NEWCASTLE United owner Mike Ashley remains determined to sell the club to one of the interested consortia after keeping the lines of communication open to all four of the groups that have expressed an interest.
It is understood that Peter Kenyon’s letter to Ashley over the festive period was made public with the consent of both the Toon tycoon and the ex-manchester United and Chelsea supremo.
Indeed, both men were eager to show to the Newcastle public there was still a realistic chance of a takeover in the new year and try to shut down accusations that a new owner is not a PR stunt.
However, Kenyon must still come up with a satisfactory offer and makes sense to invite two of the Us-based groups to club together with their bid.
The letter revealed last night: “I fully respect your desire to ensure the next owners of Newcastle United understand the club, football, and have the appropriate financial resources, and I am delighted that you think the investor group led by myself is the best fit.
“On my side, I would like to personally assure you that I am committed to conclude our deal since the letter there is believed to have been further dialogue from the 65-yearold to Ashley with a fresh pledge that another revised offer is on the way. A representative from Kenyon’s group was also thought to be in the stands for the 2-0 defeat against Manchester United to offer feedback to those involved with the US consortium. Ashley will not wait forever but is ready to give Kenyon every possible chance to show he is capable of one last acceptable offer. One suggestion from Ashley to Kenyon’s group is to consider pooling resources with the party fronted by ex-man City and as soon as possible and, while we are both perhaps frustrated that we have not progressed as quickly as we would have wished, I would like to express personal gratitude for your patience and integrity in this matter and hope we can continue our discussions in the same spirit.”
Ashley is due back from his holiday next week, but is still hopeful of selling the club in 2019. Wigan director Garry Cook.
Ashley returns from holiday this week and is eager for further conversations on the sale of United.
In the mean time, his manager Rafa Benitez, pictured left, is becoming frustrated at the lack of transfer progress.
After the dismal 1-1 draw against Blackburn on FA Cup third round day, Benitez again refused to answer questions on transfers.
This time he was specifically asked if there had been a bid for Nice striker Mario Balotelli turned down.
He replied: “I said before that I won’t talk about the transfer window, but you know, like me, what could be the answer.”
Peter Kenyon, left, and, right, Garry Cook , Executive Vice President and General Manager of UFC EMEA ■ Sources close to Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley have confirmed the letter is genuine