An investment group led by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and also comprising PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media (the “Investment Group”), has completed the acquisition of 100% of Newcastle United Limited and Newcastle United Football Club Limited (“Newcastle United” or the “Club”) from St. James Holdings Limited.
The 300-million-pound ($409m) takeover by the Saudi Public Investment Fund collapsed last year over concerns about how much control the kingdom’s leadership would have in the running of Newcastle amid concerns about Saudi human rights abuses and the pirating of sports rights.
According to a publication of the Club’s website, all requisite approvals have been obtained from the English Premier League and the acquisition was completed on 7 October 2021.
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“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,” the Premier League said in a statement on Thursday.
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.
His Excellency Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Governor of PIF, will serve as Non-Executive Chairman of Newcastle United. Amanda Staveley, chief executive of PCP Capital Partners, will have one seat on the board. Jamie Reuben will also be a director of the Club, representing RB Sports & Media.
For PIF, one of the world’s most impactful investors, the acquisition is in line with its strategy of focusing on key sectors including Sports and Entertainment, and aligns with PIF’s mission to actively invest over the long term – in this case, to harness the Club’s potential and build upon the Club’s legacy.
Commenting on the agreement, His Excellency Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Governor of PIF, said:
“We are extremely proud to become the new owners of Newcastle United, one of the most famous clubs in English football.
“We thank the Newcastle fans for their tremendously loyal support over the years and we are excited to work together with them.”
Amanda Staveley, Chief Executive Officer of PCP Capital Partners, said: “This is a long-term investment. We are excited about the future prospects for Newcastle United.
“We intend to instill a united philosophy across the Club, establish a clear purpose, and help provide leadership that will allow Newcastle United to go on to big achievements over the long term.
“Our ambition is aligned with the fans – to create a consistently successful team that’s regularly competing for major trophies and generates pride across the globe.”
Jamie Reuben of RB Sports & Media, said: “We look forward to a great future for Newcastle United. Newcastle is a fantastic city, which is why our family has been investing heavily in the area for many years. To become part of this great Club and its amazing fans is a privilege.
“We will build a true community Club, based upon our family’s knowledge of the city and in line with our plans that have been worked on closely with Newcastle City Council to deliver long-term sustainable growth for the area.”
The directors of the Investment Group thank Mike Ashley for his commitment to the sale process. We would also like to thank the Premier League for its contribution in the regulatory process, which has helped lead to completion of this deal.
The PIF will be the majority partner alongside wealthy British-based Reuben brothers and financier Amanda Staveley.
The takeover ends the 14-year ownership by British retail tycoon Mike Ashley, who has been widely viewed as a figure of scorn in the one-club city, whose St James’ Park stadium is affectionately dubbed “the cathedral on the hill”.
His ownership has been marked by chronic underinvestment in the playing squad, his use of Newcastle as a vehicle to promote his business interests, and a general lack of ambition despite the club attracting regular home crowds of more than 50,000.
Newcastle has not won a major trophy since the 1955 FA Cup and its last league title was in 1927.
The northeast English club will be seeking a transformation in the same manner enjoyed by Manchester City in 2008 after its takeover by another Middle Eastern entity — Abu Dhabi. Staveley, who brokered the City takeover, is also fronting the Saudi takeover of Newcastle.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur