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Why Saudi Arabia consortium pulled out of the Sh42 billion Newcastle takeover

Last updated 1 month ago | By Waweru Titus

Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Newcastle United - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - February 16, 2020. A fan displays a banner in reference to Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley during the match. [REUTERS/Eddie Keogh]

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers pulled out of their proposed Sh42 billion (£300m) takeover of English Premier League side Newcastle United, according to Sky Sports news.

The consortium had been waiting to be given the green light take charge of the club, but withdrew completely, citing the tough economic times during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A statement from the consortium on Thursday read: "With a deep appreciation for the Newcastle community and the significance of its football club, we have come to the decision to withdraw our interest in acquiring Newcastle United Football Club.

"We do so with regret, as we were excited and fully committed to invest in the great city of Newcastle and believe we could have returned the club to the position of its history, tradition and fans' merit.

"Unfortunately, the prolonged process under the current circumstances coupled with global uncertainty has rendered the potential investment no longer commercially viable.

"To that end, we feel a responsibility to the fans to explain the lack of alternatives from an investment perspective.

"As an autonomous and purely commercial investor, our focus was on building long-term value for the club, its fans and the community as we remained committed to collaboration, practicality and proactivity through a difficult period of global uncertainty and significant challenges for the fans and the club.

"Ultimately, during the unforeseeably prolonged process, the commercial agreement between the Investment Group and the club's owners expired and our investment thesis could not be sustained, particularly with no clarity as to the circumstances under which the next season will start and the new norms that will arise for matches, training and other activities.

"As often occurs with proposed investments in uncertain periods, time itself became an enemy of the transaction, particularly during this difficult phase marked by the many real challenges facing us all from Covid-19.

"We feel great compassion for the Newcastle United fans, with whom we shared a great commitment to help Newcastle United harness its tremendous potential and build upon its impressive and historic legacy while working closely with the local community.

"We would like to say that we truly appreciated your incredible expressions of support and your patience throughout this process. We are sorry it is not to be.

"We wish the team and everyone associated with it much good luck and success."

Newcastle fans say they have been treated with contempt after the collapse of the deal.

The end of the Saudi bid left the North East club still in the hands of British businessman Mike Ashley, who has long faced protests and opposition from the fans.

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