News today in the Evening Standard that Turkey’s richest man, Billionaire Murat Ulker, is looking at possibly buying Newcastle United.
This follows the announcement yesterday by St. James’ Holding that the club was up for sale.
Ulker runs Yildiz Holdings, which is a European food business including well-known brands like McVitie’s and Jaffa Cakes.
But the problem could be the report states he is only willing to pay £220M for the club with Ashley wanting as much as £380M.
And we wonder if putting the club up for sale is yet another ruse by the owner – if he doesn’t drop his price it looks like there will not be many serious buyers.
So in a couple of months, Ashley could come out and say he cannot sell the club and therefore will stay on as owner – and maybe take an investment from a consortium but will remain the principal owner.
Murat Ulker – interested in buying Newcastle United
We cannot get away from that being a possibility.
Ulker is worth a little less than Mike Ashley – about £2.8B according to Forbes magazine.
Financier Amanda Staveley is still in the picture, but she was also thought to value the club at only around £200M.
And she has not yet signed non-disclosure forms so she can take a look at the financial records of the club.
Signing non-disclosure forms is a bit like viewing a house you are interested in buying – so she’s probably not too far along the trail of investing in Newcastle or buying the club.
It looks like she is much more interested in buying Liverpool than Newcastle.
This is what Tom McLoughlin, the Ulker family’s representative in London has said in the Evening Standard:
“The Ulker family have substantial assets and significant investments already in the UK.”
“We understand football and our initial specific target would be to make Newcastle a solid top six club and a permanent feature in Europe with a popular local and worldwide following.”
The right words are there – that’s what we all want to hear.
Ulker is reported to be ready to give Rafa Benitez £60M to invest in new players – and given what Rafa has been given while he’s been at Newcastle that’s a lot of money.
And the Turkish Billionaire wants to buy all of the Newcastle United and not just invest in the club without becoming the principal owner.
We should also expect to get these reports coming out fairly regularly as we did in late 2008 and not too many of them turned out to be serious bids for the club.
We hope this is the real thing and that Mike Ashley really wants to sell the club – finally.
But we’ve been wrong before on that.
What do you think?