Newcastle FC Officially sold in £300m deal to Saudi-led Consortium
The £300m deal has been agreed after the league confirmed it had received "legally binding assurances that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control" the club.
Mike Ashley’s 14-year ownership of Premier League club Newcastle United has come to an end after a Saudi-led consortium completed its £300m takeover of the club.
The league has approved the takeover, which was delayed by almost 18 months due to a dispute between beIN Sports and the Saudis over illegal streaming.
In a statement, the football league said: "The Premier League, Newcastle United Football Club and St James Holdings Limited have today settled the dispute over the takeover of the club by the consortium of PIF, PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media. Following the completion of the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test, the club has been sold to the consortium with immediate effect.
"The legal disputes concerned which entities would own and/or have the ability to control the club following the takeover. All parties have agreed the settlement is necessary to end the long uncertainty for fans over the club’s ownership. The Premier League has now received legally binding assurances that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control Newcastle United Football Club.
"All parties are pleased to have concluded this process which gives certainty and clarity to Newcastle United Football Club and their fans."
Newcastle also released a statement, confirming that Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) will act as the club’s non-executive chairman, while Amanda Staveley, chief executive of PCP Capital Partners, will have a seat on the board.
The statement added: "The Investment Group is comprised of long-term, patient investors who have every confidence in the future success of the Club.
"Today’s announcement is the conclusion of a thorough and detailed process that has allowed the Investment Group to arrive at a deal that benefits all stakeholders and will leave Newcastle United well-placed to pursue a clear, long-term strategy."
The approval of the takeover means the end of Mike Ashley’s tenure as owner. The Sports Direct boss bought the Magpies in 2007, but has been criticised by supporters for a perceived failure to invest in the team.
On 6 October, beIN and the Saudi state resolved their issues, paving the way for the takeover to complete – more than a year after the group first expressed interest in buying Newcastle.
beIN had been opposed to the takeover, saying the ban and piracy of its content in Saudia Arabia was damaging to sports rights holders.
The Qatari network had been unable to broadcast in Saudi Arabia for the last four-and-a-half years, as part of a diplomatic dispute, but the ban is set to come to an end.
The takeover means the Public Investment Fund (PIF) has taken an 80% stake in the club.
The consortium previously withdrew after the Premier League identified the Saudi stake as a director with control over the club, which would have made it subject to the league’s owners’ and directors’ test as part of the takeover process.
The Competition Appeals Tribunal heard last week the league had been "improperly influenced" by beIN and rival Premier League clubs in its consideration of the takeover.