Barry Moat will attempt this week to complete his purchase of the Newcastle United club from Mike Ashley, and it would appear that the size of his bid is now dependent on how much Barclays Bank is willing to lend the Newcastle businessman.
Mike Ashley with Barry Moat
It appears that Barry spent most of yesterday in a series of meetings with owner Mike Ashley and the club’s primary bank Barclays.
Barry is negotiating a loan with Barclays and it could well be that the size of the loan he can get will determine if he can meet Ashley’s asking price of £100M, and thereby be successful in buying his home town club.
There were several reports yesterday that Ashley would not sell for less than the £100M figure, and there are supposedly still two other consortia involved in negotiations.
Barclays remains concerned about the £40M overdraft the club still has, but we would hope the £23M the club has received in recent transfer fees for Martins, Bassong, Beye and Duff, will help reduce that figure.
Ashley visited the club’s training ground by helicopter early yesterday afternoon, but there was some confusion about what that was all about, and whether it was a farewell visit to the players, since he will not be attending tonight’s game against Sheffield Wednesday.
He did speak to interim boss Hughton, who says the sale was never mentioned, but no players have said anything about their meeting with the owner, and they were probably told to say nothing, in any case.
Both Moat and Ashley are well aware that if a deal is to be done it must be completed within the next few days, to allow the incoming manager to bring in new players, since the squad is currently very thin indeed.
The new manager will be either Alan Shearer if Moat is successful, or probably Joe Kinnear if Ashley keeps the club.
Moat is still the preferred bidder of Ashley’s advisors at investment bank Seymour Pierce, who believe Barry offers the current owner the best exit strategy out of Newcastle.
Moat is also the only potential buyer to have held recent talks with Barclays Bank over the specifics of a deal, and it seems that the crucial issue is whether Barclay’s are comfortable to give Moat the money to meet Ashley’s £100M price, while at the same time reducing the overfraft of £40M to an acceptable figure to the bank.
That’s where we think things stand right now, so if Barclays are comfortable with Moat’s business plan, the deal could still go through.
Let’s hope it does, and then we’ll all have a new lease on life. 😀