There are still seven parties officially interested in buying Newcastle United, but only three have shown evidence that they are in a financial position to significantly improve the famous Tyneside club.
Those are large consortiums that according to Keith Harris, Chairman of Seymour Pierce investment Bank, who are handling the sale for Newcastle and Mike Ashley, are based in the United States, the Middle East, and the Far East.
The three are said to be ready to bid around £300M for the club that Ashley has paid £245M for over the last 15 months. That would give Ashley a £55M profit or just over 22% on the deal. A good deal by any standards.
South African Jonathan Cleland is said to remain hopeful of doing a deal for Newcastle United with a group of South African businessmen but earlier this week Harris said there had been no serious bids from either Nigeria or South Africa.
We have no idea who the American interest is, but a couple of years ago a Polygon backed St James’ Park Group were said to be interested in buying the club. With the terrible state of the banking system in the US, we’d be surprised if a US based consortium had the money right now to buy the club.
The Middle East buyers could one from quite a few parties who have expressed an interest, but a prominent one is Kuwait tycoon Nasser Kharafi, the 48th richest man in the world. Nasser Al Kharafi and his company controls the exclusive Arab franchises for KFC, Wimpy, TGI Fridays, Cadbury’s, Pizza Hut and Saint Cinnamon.
As far as the Far East interest goes, we have been linked with Chinese property billionaire Xu Rongmao, who is reported to have plans to expand St James’ Park and redevelop the surrounding area. There are 10 billionaires in China, and he is one of them. Xu is the chairman of the Shimao Group, which controls land in America, and builds luxury real estate projects.
We were led to believe yesterday by Joe Kinnear, who got his information from Managing Director Kevin Llambias that Friday was the date when all bids were expected to be placed for Newcastle, and that it was an important day in the sale of the club. We hope what Joe says is true because it would mean the sale is moving ahead quite well.
We assume the next step is that we’ll hear from Keith Harris, as to who the winning consortium is.
If we can get that information within the next week say, it will remove lots of uncertainty surrounding the club, and then we’ll need to hear from the new owners as to who they want as their new permanent manager, and what their long term (and short term) strategy for the club is.
If that can be done withing the next week the sale should be completed, following five or six weeks of due diligence, by the early December timeframe, and we’ll be ready to invest in the transfer market in January, which promises to be an exciting time for Newcastle fans everywhere.
And hopefully the club will be on an upward spiral once again – and that would be very good.
Here’s hoping – comments very welcome.