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Saudi Arabia in ‘advanced’ talks to takeover Newcastle United

By Ramla Soni

Negotiations between the PIF and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley have been in progress for several months and chances of an agreement are now 'high' says a source

Talks between Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund and Newcastle United are in “advanced” stages as Arab state's Public Investment Fund (PIF) looks to potentially take over the English football club for £340m (€402m, $444m).

Negotiations between the PIF and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley have been in progress for several months and chances of an agreement are now "high" according to a source familiar with the matter.

However, they also warned that the talks were "complicated" and a deal could still collapse.

Businesswoman and financier Amanda Staveley is said to have approached the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about buying the Premier League club.

Staveley failed to purchase the club two years ago after Ashley said he wanted to bring 10 years of ownership to an end.

Staveley is thought to want a 10 percent stake in the club if a deal can be agreed with PIF, which would be the majority partner.

The takeover would be Saudi Arabia's latest venture into sports investment.

Rival Premier League club Sheffield United are owned by Saudi Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who took full control from Kevin McCabe last year.

Businessman Turki al-Sheikh, the chairman of Saudi's General Entertainment Authority, has also bought Almeria in Spain's second division.

Saudi Arabia has recently been making efforts to present itself as a more wider place to do business, watch sport and go on holiday.

Last year the country staged heavyweight boxing's rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr and has just unveiled detailed plans for a new race track that is poised to host a Formula 1 grand prix from 2023.

Ashley bought Newcastle for £134.4m in 2007. During his time at the club Newcastle have been relegated twice from the Premier League.

Neither Newcastle United, Staveley or PIF have commented on the matter.

FURTHER READING: Manchester City owner sells 10 per cent stake to US private equity group for $500 million

FURTHER READING: Juventus Football club launches blockchain tokens allowing fans to make decisions for the club

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