Saudi Arabia pulls £300m takeover of Newcastle United

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has pulled out of a £300m takeover of Newcastle United football club, ending a four-month effort to secure approval for a deal that faced intense lobbying from the Middle Eastern country’s critics and regional rivals.

On Thursday, the consortium led by the Public Investment Fund, steered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, announced that it had “formally withdrawn its interest in pursuing the acquisition” of the Premier League club.

In a statement, the group which also included PCP Capital Partners, the investment company founded by British financier Amanda Staveley, and the billionaire Reuben brothers, said: “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.”

“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.”

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It added: “Unfortunately, the prolonged process under the current circumstances coupled with global uncertainty has rendered the potential investment no longer commercially viable.”

In April, a Saudi-led consortium agreed a £300m takeover of the club from its current owner Mike Ashley, the UK retail tycoon.

But the deal unravelled as it awaited approval from the Premier League, the body that runs the top division in English football.

Newcastle declined to comment. The Premier League did not immediately respond to requests for comment.