Oct 7 (Reuters) – Premier League club Newcastle United have been taken over by a Saudi Arabian-backed consortium, the league announced in a statement on Thursday.
“Following the completion of the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test, the club has been sold to the consortium with immediate effect,” the Premier League said.
The consortium includes the kingdom’s $430 billion sovereign wealth fund PIF, chaired by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, which is at the centre of plans to transform its economy by creating new sectors and diversifying revenues away from oil.
The investment group, which also includes PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers, had previously made public a 305 million pounds ($415.07 million) bid to buy the north-east club from British businessman Mike Ashley on April 9, 2020.
However, that deal collapsed in July 2020 amid scrutiny from the Premier League, which came under pressure to stop the sale due to concerns over alleged broadcast piracy in Saudi Arabia.
“The Premier League, Newcastle United Football Club and St James Holdings Limited have today settled the dispute over the takeover of the club by the consortium of PIF, PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media,” the league added.
“The legal disputes concerned which entities would own and/or have the ability to control the club following the takeover.
“The Premier League has now received legally binding assurances that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control Newcastle United Football Club.”
The piracy dispute involved Qatari-owned beIN Sports, the Premier League’s broadcast rights holder across the Middle East, which had been barred from operating in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia lifted that ban on Wednesday, clearing a major hurdle to the Newcastle deal.