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Investors pull out of Newcastle deal

AFP
London
A Saudi-backed consortium on Thursday announced it had ended its bid to buy Newcastle United after months of waiting for approval from the
Premier League.
The investment group, which included the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), PCP Capital Partners and billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben, had reportedly struck a £300 million ($391 million) deal to buy the club from unpopular owner Mike Ashley in April.
The PIF had been set to take an 80 percent stake under the proposed deal.
“With a deep appreciation for the Newcastle community and the significance of its football club, we have come to the decision to withdraw our interest in acquiring Newcastle United Football Club,” the group said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, the prolonged process under the current circumstances coupled with global uncertainty has rendered the potential investment no longer commercially viable.”
Newcastle finished 13th in the recently completed Premier League season to secure another year of lucrative television rights.
However, there is deep uncertainty over the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, with no date set for fans to return to stadiums.
“During the unforeseeably prolonged process, the commercial agreement between the investment group and the club’s owners expired and our investment thesis could not be sustained, particularly with no clarity as to the circumstances under which the next season will start and the new norms that will arise for matches, training and other activities,” the statement added.
Last month a World Trade Organization panel ruled that Riyadh had failed to protect intellectual property rights of Qatari-owned broadcaster beIN by refusing to take action against a Saudi pirate TV outfit.

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