EXCLUSIVE: Amanda Staveley insists Newcastle’s new ownership group have ‘big ambitions’ for the club and are ‘here to invest’ after completing their £305m takeover… but warns ‘it will take time to get to where we want’
- Newcastle’s long-awaited £305million Saudi takeover has now been completed
- Deal was announced on Thursday, ending Mike Ashley’s 14-year reign at the club
- Amanda Staveley says the club’s new ownership have ‘big ambitions for the club’
- Staveley reiterated it’ll take some time before they could get to ‘where we want’
Amanda Staveley has promised Newcastle fans that the club’s new investors are in it for the ‘long haul’ and have ‘big ambitions’ for the Magpies, after the Premier League confirmed that the Saudi Arabian consortium completed their £305million takeover on Thursday.
In a video exclusively obtained by Sportsmail, Staveley, Chief Executive Officer of PCP Capital Partners, revealed to supporters how committed the new owners would be to the club, before reassuring fans that it would take time to reach where they wanted to be.
Ashley’s 14-year ownership of the St James’ Park club will now draw to a close as the Premier League officially sign off the deal, with Staveley and the new owners eager to get straight down to work.
‘Newcastle United is an extrodinary football club. There is no other football club quite like it,’ Staveley said. ‘And there are certainly no fans like Newcastle fans. We at PCP Captial Partners feel privilegded to become custodians of this great club.
‘Led by PIF and including RBSports and Media, we know only too well that the whole community wants a club of which they can be proud, both on the pitch and off.
‘This announcement has been a long time coming and we appreciate the patience of the fans, the community, the players, the coaching staff and everyone who works at the club.
Amanda Staveley has promised Newcastle fans that the club’s new investors are in it for the ‘long haul’ and have ‘big ambitions’ for the Tyneside outfit
‘We have followed the discussions in the fans forums and we appreciate so much the support of the fans. Now we’re all focused of the future.
‘We have faith in the long-term success at Newcastle United. We are long-term patient investors. We are in this for the long haul. And we’re here to invest.
‘We don’t want to make promises we can’t keep. It will take time to get to where we want to get to, but we have big ambitions.
‘We’re going to not only invest in players, but the club. We’re going to build up the academy programme and over time, we want to see more local kids making it through to the first team.
‘The talent is definitely out there, we just need to find the kids and give them the leg-up they need. This club has been at the heart of the community and we want to work hand in hand with everyone connected to the club – with everyone on Tyneside.
Staveley talks to the media and fans after confirmation of the takeover was announced
‘The Newcastle United Foundation is a big part of the community and we are huge admirers of the foundation and everything it has done. Not just in promoting football but for all the community.
‘We want to help the foundation expand that excellent work. We are whole-heartedly committed to women’s and girls football and the foundation supports the women’s team and we are committed to helping the women’s team develop and grow.
‘We will be welcoming and inclusive to all, we willf ully support the Premier League’s iniatives to combat racism and discrimination, including No Room For Racism and Rainbow Laces.
‘All of this will take time. But the investors in this group are patient, long-term investors who make decisions for the long term. Financial success goes hand in hand with footballing success.
Staveley (pictured) is part of the Saudi-led consortium that taking over the English club
Newcastle fans have long wanted Mike Ashley to sell the club after 14-years as owner
Newcastle supporters meet on the streets to celebrate that the club has been sold on Thursday
‘They are one and the same thing. We will run the club responsibly. There’s a lot for us to do. And we are under no illusions about that. We are really excited to get started. Thank you.’
Newcastle have long wanted current owner Mike Ashley to sell the club, with the Magpies often found towards the bottom end of the table, while the club has won no silverware in over 50 years.
More to follow
An old flame of Prince Andrew and a major player in the 2008 takeover of Manchester City… who is Amanda Staveley?
It should come as little surprise that Staveley, with plenty of Middle Eastern contacts – and past experience in taking over a club – is willing to pay £305m to purchase Newcastle.
Her investment fund PCP Capital Partners is backed by, as of 2017, £28billion from the Middle East and China and she is one of the financial world’s most powerful players.
Staveley was in a relationship with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, and she apparently turned down a marriage proposal in 2003.
Staveley, pictured in November 2019, has been front and centre of the £305m takeover
In 2011 she married Mehrdad Ghodoussi, an Iranian who worked with her at her company, in a lavish ceremony in West Wycombe Park, Buckinghamshire. The couple have a child together – Alexander, nicknamed Lexi, born in 2014.
Staveley is not new to sport, having been well involved in the horse racing world. Like football, their owners have the largest of bank balances.
When in her twenties, she took out a £180,000 loan to buy a restaurant named Stocks near Cambridge and Newmarket racecourse. It was regularly visited by trainers and owners, giving her an opportunity to make the contacts she craved. Her entrepreneurial career was on its way.
She lived for banking and business, and started to get involved in the financial world. From there, it snowballed.
An old flame of Prince Andrew, Staveley is said to have rejected his marriage proposal
Staveley first met Prince Andrew in the United Arab Emirates during a visit as part of his role as a trade ambassador in 2001. Her relationship with the prince blossomed quickly and was mutually beneficial in many ways. As trade envoy, Prince Andrew could open doors to contacts.
In 2003, the Prince, who was said to be besotted by her, popped the question. But Amanda struggled to envisage herself idling away her hours with official duties and being unable to speak her mind.
And so she turned to the Middle East to use her skills as a negotiator and broker deals to amass a princely sum.
In 2005, she set up the Dubai-based private equity company PCP Capital Partners, which soon secured international deals for clients in Qatar and the UAE.
The company’s role is varied. Sometimes they lobby on political issues; occasionally they simply bring powerful people together or act as intermediaries in complex negotiations. Her contacts book is, without doubt, formidable.
Staveley was involved in the takeover of Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour in 2008
In 2008, at the age of 35, Staveley was involved in the takeover of Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan. That reportedly saw her take home £10m and she was labelled by some newspapers as ‘the new Queen of British football’.
Staveley also came close to joining the Liverpool board when Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai was linked with buying the Merseyside club.
Weeks after helping in the City takeover in 2008, Staveley brokered a deal that saw billions of pounds of Middle Eastern money put into Barclays.
Her slice of the pie from that deal was £40m for her firm, with Staveley reportedly keeping a significant sum for herself.
Now, with talks at an advanced stage, could she finally be the person to unlock Newcastle’s potential?
Additional reporting by Kieran Gill
Staveley, pictured at Anfield in 2008, also brokered a deal that saw billions of pounds of Middle Eastern money put into Barclays in 2008
Toon takeover is DONE! Saudi Arabian consortium complete £305m deal to gain control of Newcastle and end Mike Ashley’s 14-year reign – just days after gulf state settled beIN piracy row
By Craig Hope
Newcastle United are under new Saudi ownership after a £305million deal was agreed with Mike Ashley and signed off by the Premier League.
A statement released by the Premier League on Thursday afternoon confirmed the takeover had now been given the green light.
It read: ‘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.
‘Following the completion of the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test, the club has been sold to the consortium with immediate effect.
‘The legal disputes concerned which entities would own and/or have the ability to control the club following the takeover.
Mike Ashley’s 14-year reign as owner of Newcastle has come to an end with a £300m takeover
Takeover is backed by Saudi’s Public Investment Fund, led by Prince Mohamed bin Salman (R)
‘All parties have agreed the settlement is necessary to end the long uncertainty for fans over the club’s ownership. The Premier League has now received legally binding assurances that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control Newcastle United Football Club.
‘All parties are pleased to have concluded this process which gives certainty and clarity to Newcastle United Football Club and their fans.’
The takeover was stopped in its tracks by a piracy dispute between the Gulf state and its Premier League broadcast partner beIN Sports, but that was settled earlier this week, paving the way for the takeover to be completed.
A statement from the new owners read: ‘An investment group led by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and also comprising PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media (the ‘Investment Group’), has completed the acquisition of 100% of Newcastle United Limited and Newcastle United Football Club Limited (‘Newcastle United’ or the ‘Club’) from St. James Holdings Limited. All requisite approvals have been obtained from the English Premier League and the acquisition was completed on 7 October 2021.
‘The Investment Group is comprised of long-term, patient investors who have every confidence in the future success of the Club. Today’s announcement is the conclusion of a thorough and detailed process that has allowed the Investment Group to arrive at a deal that benefits all stakeholders and will leave Newcastle United well-placed to pursue a clear, long-term strategy.
‘His Excellency Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Governor of PIF, will serve as Non-Executive Chairman of Newcastle United. Amanda Staveley, chief executive of PCP Capital Partners, will have one seat on the board. Jamie Reuben will also be a director of the Club, representing RB Sports & Media.
Fans gathered to celebrate outside St James’ Park on Thursday as the takeover was confirmed
‘For PIF, one of the world’s most impactful investors, the acquisition is in line with its strategy of focusing on key sectors including Sports and Entertainment, and aligns with PIF’s mission to actively invest over the long term – in this case, to harness the Club’s potential and build upon the Club’s legacy.’
Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Governor of PIF, said: ‘We are extremely proud to become the new owners of Newcastle United, one of the most famous clubs in English football.
‘We thank the Newcastle fans for their tremendously loyal support over the years and we are excited to work together with them.’
Staveley, Chief Executive Officer of PCP Capital Partners, said: ‘This is a long-term investment.
‘We are excited about the future prospects for Newcastle United. We intend to instill a united philosophy across the Club, establish a clear purpose, and help provide leadership that will allow Newcastle United to go on to big achievements over the long term.
For years, Newcastle fans have been protesting against Ashley, urging him to sell their club
‘Our ambition is aligned with the fans – to create a consistently successful team that’s regularly competing for major trophies and generates pride across the globe.’
Jamie Reuben of RB Sports & Media, said: ‘We look forward to a great future for Newcastle United. Newcastle is a fantastic city, which is why our family has been investing heavily in the area for many years. To become part of this great Club and its amazing fans is a privilege.
‘We will build a true community Club, based upon our family’s knowledge of the city and in line with our plans that have been worked on closely with Newcastle City Council to deliver long-term sustainable growth for the area.’
The deal was initially abandoned in the summer of 2020 when the group were unable to provide separation between themselves and the Saudi state, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Now, though, they have been able to provide sufficient proof that the Saudi state will not be in control of the club, and they have passed the Premier League owners’ and directors’ test.
Steve Bruce’s team currently find themselves second-bottom of the Premier League table, but it is anticipated that a spending spree could now follow the mega-money takeover
NEWCASTLE UNDER MIKE ASHLEY
Transfer spend: £486.4m
Transfer money received: £356.6m
Net spend: £129.8m
Average net spend per year: £9.3m
The news will delight Newcastle fans, who flooded social media to celebrate when it was first revealed that the takeover was back on track on Wednesday afternoon.
The north-east club are now set to become one of the richest in the world, and it is expected that the takeover will pave the way for a spending spree in the coming transfer windows.
When it was revealed on Wednesday that the deal was back on, a source told Sportsmail: ‘If all of this had been done 18 months ago, the takeover would have been signed off already.
‘The Premier League could not approve a takeover whereby one of its member clubs would be owned by a state it believed to be guilty of piracy against the League and one of its broadcast partners. The League has tried to sue the Saudi state nine times in relation to piracy.
beIn Sports settled a piracy row in Saudi Arabia, which paved the way for the deal to be done
‘That was why the buyers had to prove separation from the Saudi state. That was almost impossible, especially given the revelations about Mohammed bin Salman texting Boris Johnson and pressurising him to influence the deal.
‘But those issues, including piracy, have now been resolved. Crucially, the Premier League do not want to be seen to be connected directly to the Saudi state.’
The Daily Mail revealed in April that Bin Salman had lobbied Mr Johnson last year. Bin Salman told the Prime Minister: ‘We expect the English Premier League to reconsider and correct its wrong conclusion.’
He also warned that Anglo-Saudi relations could be damaged if the move was not approved.
The Premier League, run by Richard Masters, have given the green light to the takeover
The fans at St James’ Park are gearing up for some huge changes following Ashley’s departure
High-level talks are said to have continued in recent weeks and compromises have been reached, with the Saudis taking the lead on negotiations.
We understand as recently as last week beIN Sports sent a list of websites to Saudi officials, informing them of ongoing piracy. Within days all of those websites were shut down and assurances have been made that a $1billion damages claim will also be settled.
The approval of the takeover will lead to criticism of the Premier League by human-rights groups, especially as Bin Salman was named by US intelligent services as signing off on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
It is likely the League will attempt to sidestep such questions by insisting that the PIF-led consortium – and not the state – are the owners of the club.
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