For Sale

Since August 2008,  only a year after he bought the club and before the fanbase turned on him, Mike Ashley has been publicly declaring his appetite to sell either a share or the whole of Newcastle United.

Despite all of these years of touting the club, despite over a dozen Premier League clubs changing hands in the meantime, Ashley remains yet to sell a single share to any of the many interested parties he claims waste his time.

The fact is, Ashley is happy remaining the sole profiteer from the growth in the value of the club.

July 2019
Mike Ashley

“I have to assume I will stay running this football club. There are no offers. Define an offer. I’m not a believer any more. Peter Kenyon convinced me last Christmas that it was going to get done. I’m never doing that again. I think I could own this football club for ever. That is my new mental state. The reality is with these deals that once it gets out, if it’s not done, it’s probably not going to get done.

‘The day someone buys Newcastle, they’ll do their due diligence – and finished. It will happen like Manchester City. By the time the media find out, it’s already complete. There’s no need for a delay with Newcastle. It is, honestly, a very well-run football club.

‘The last bid, the one from UAE, he’s a prince and he’s got £38bn or £100bn, all these numbers — well, why would you even care what you’re paying then? What difference would £10m either way make? You would want speed, you would want certainty, you would want the keys and to get on with it.

‘I will not stand in the way of Newcastle United. I will not stop that, if it happens. If such a person comes along I will think I’ve done quite a good job and I will want to keep going to watch them. I’ll keep a box, because my parents will demand it. Every time there’s a story that I’ve sold, I get the phone call. “You haven’t included our box in the sale?” When you own a football club, the whole family are in.’ – Source

May 2019
Bin Zayed Group

“In response to the numerous reports in the world media this morning, we would like to comment as follows, we can confirm that representatives of His Highness Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan are in discussions with Mike Ashley and his team, about the proposed acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club.  We view it as an honour to have the opportunity to build on the strong support, history and tradition of the club. We have agreed terms and are working hard to complete the transaction at the earliest opportunity.” – Source

Bin Zayed Group

“In consideration of the numerous speculations in regards to the timelines of the acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club by Bin Zayed Group, we feel the need to issue this statement.  Terms have been agreed between us and Mike Ashley; these terms have been reflected in a document, signed by both parties, which has been forwarded to the Premier League.  The proof of funds statement was forwarded to Mike Ashley’s lawyers on 17 April 2019.  The so called fit-and-proper Premier League process is a standard procedure which will take time, and we are doing all we can to assist the Premier League during this process.  We feel the need to clarify this point in order for the fans and the general public to understand the timelines.” – Source

April 2019
NUFC Accounts

“As a result of the [£33m loan] repayment, the amount due to the owner now stands at £111m, all of which is considered, by the owner, to be long term in nature having been in place for over a decade, and repayable only in the event of the sale of the club. – Source

January 2019
Peter Kenyon

“I know I speak for both of us in that we continue to share a serious determination to finalise the agreement we have to suit both parties as soon as possible in the new year.  We have both spent many months discussing the parameters of a final deal and as you know we have also invested heavily in time and money on our various legal and financial advisors.  And I appreciate the time and effort committed to the detailed discussions by your advisors, lawyers, club, and, of course, yourself.  I fully respect your desire to ensure the next owners of Newcastle United understand the club, football, and have the appropriate financial resources, and I am delighted that you think the investor group led by myself is the best fit.  On my side, I would like to personally assure you that I am committed to conclude our deal as soon as possible and, while we are both perhaps frustrated that we have not progressed as quickly as we would have wished, I would like to express personal gratitude for your patience and integrity in this matter and hope we can continue our discussions in the same spirit.” – Source

December 2018
Mike Ashley

“I am hopeful – for the Newcastle fans, for the club, for everybody, that I will be able to step aside and we will be able to get an owner in that will please everybody.  I’d like it to be before the January transfer window.  It’s possible. Realistic is maybe too strong a word.  Hopefully, we can carry on the good form – the just recent good form – and we can get the deal done. [Talks are] Not exclusive. But talks are at a more progressed stage than they have ever been. Yes I’m very keen to sell it to the right buyer so that everybody’s happy, That would be good news.” – Source

October 2018
Fans Forum

The club remains for sale.  The club has a very clear and reasonable process for individuals or groups who express an interest in purchasing the club. There has not been a lot of serious interest and a sale is not close as it stands.  The owner wants a fair price and has been open to the dating of payments to achieve a sale. In addition the buyer must be someone, or a group, that can take the football club forward and support it financially better than he can.  It is important to disclose that there have been groups who have expressed an initial interest, but who have been discouraged with proceeding due to the visibility and scrutiny that comes with the football club.  Anything around the sale will come from the club rather than other sources. – Source

January 2018
NUFC source

“It is only right to let the fans know that there is no deal on the table or even under discussion with Amanda Staveley and PCP. Attempts to reach a deal have proved to be exhausting, frustrating and a complete waste of time” – Source

Amanda Staveley

“I’m very much still interested in buying Newcastle, and our [£350m] bid remains on the table.  I’m very concerned, I’m very surprised and I’m disappointed about what’s been said this week.  The suggestion that we were either wasting time or not serious is absurd. It’s hurtful. Hugely hurtful.  This is something we’ve been working really hard on.  It’s not something we’ve just thrown together. I’m putting a lot of my own capital into this and our investors, who come from around the world, include sovereign wealth funds.” – Source

October 2017
St James Holdings Statement

“As a result of increasing press speculation regarding the future of Newcastle United, the owner of the club, St. James Holdings Limited, wishes to clarify its intentions.  As one of the Premier League’s oldest and best supported football clubs – and for the benefit of its many fans and supporters in the UK and across the world – Newcastle United requires a clear direction and a path to a bright and successful future.  To give the club the best possible opportunity of securing the positioning and investment necessary to take it to the next level, at what is an important time in its history, its present ownership has determined that it is in the best interests of Newcastle United and its fans for the club to be put up for sale.  To give an incoming owner the maximum possible flexibility to make meaningful investment in the club, including in its playing squad, the sale process will give interested parties the opportunity of deferring substantial payments.  A process will now commence of identifying new ownership for the club that will be capable of delivering the sustained investment in and dedication to the club that is necessary for it to achieve its ambitions” – Source

May 2015
Ashley interviewed on Sky Sports

What is your ambition now?To win something definitely, and by the way, I shall not be selling it until I do.

So the club’s not for sale?Not at any price. When I say win something, if we ever get in the position of a Champions League place, that also qualifies as winning something. – Source

September 2014
NUFC club statement banning the Daily Telegraph following reports the club was back up for sale

Newcastle United has today banned the Daily Telegraph with immediate effect following a report published in its paper yesterday (Thursday, 11th September), headlined ‘Newcastle United For Sale As Ashley Eyes Rangers’, as well as a follow-up article from the same reporter which appears in the Daily Telegraph today (Friday, 12th September).
The reports by Luke Edwards on 11th September, and again today (12th September), are wholly inaccurate and written with the intention of unsettling the Club, players and its supporters.
This is disgraceful journalism for which the Club and its supporters should receive a full and unreserved apology from those concerned.
The truth is Mike Ashley remains committed to Newcastle United.
For the avoidance of doubt, this means that for the remainder of this season and AT LEAST until the end of next season, Mike Ashley will not, under any circumstances, sell Newcastle United at any price.
The Club cannot be stronger in stating its position on this matter.
It is not acceptable for newspapers to print factually inaccurate reports that are damaging to the Club and to fail to check facts with Newcastle United ahead of publication and then expect to receive access to the Club.
Newcastle United will not tolerate this and will take such action as it deems appropriate.
The ban extends to all reporters working for, or freelancing on behalf of, the Daily Telegraph, as well as Luke Edwards in any capacity he may have working for the paper’s sister title or on a freelance basis. – Source

September 2011
Derek Llambias Interview

 Is Ashley considering putting the club up for sale?
“MIKE Ashley has no intention of putting the club up for sale.  He is still extremely passionate about strengthening the club and making it a real success. We are balancing the books and getting the finances in order, but there’s plenty more work to be done and he’s committed to doing that for the long-term.

“That said, it’s worth going back to the analogy of the house that’s not for sale. If suddenly an incredible offer comes in, he may have to consider it.

“From time to time we are approached by people claiming to have an interest in buying the club. Our message to them is clear: buy a box for a commitment of five-seasons and then we’ll know you’re serious. No-one’s taken us up on that offer!

“I’d like to make a further point here. This club can’t support itself without the financial backing of Mike Ashley; we still rely heavily on the owner. To date Mike has invested over £280m into the club, including £140m in interest-free loans. For him to continue to support the club, he has to be interested and enthused to do so. He deserves credit for his financial support but a section of supporters don’t make him feel welcome at St James’ Park, or when he attends away games. Criticism is part and parcel of the job, abuse is not. This makes life uncomfortable and certainly doesn’t make Mike feel more inclined to put his hand once again in his pocket. That’s not stubbornness, it’s human nature. I think most of us would feel exactly the same.” – Source

December 2009
Derek Llambias

“We did receive several bids that met the £100m asking price but, despite giving all parties involved our full support in their attempts to push the sale through, only two of those parties completed the due diligence process and reached the sale purchase agreement stage.

“Once those documents were in place, the necessary funding required to complete the sale of the club never actually materialised. So while there were bids on the table, when it came to the crunch none of the bidders actually came up with the agreed funds.” – Source

October 2009
Mike Ashley

“Barry Moat has been driving me mad for two years.  If he wants to buy the club, he’s got a one-off opportunity to come up with the cash – £80m upfront.  I have to put £20 million a year into the club – I spend more than every other fan put together puts into the club each year. If you can’t pay upfront to buy the club, you can’t afford it.” – Source

September 2009
Derek Llambias:

“[The suggestion an official bid has been lodged is] not true.” – Source

Jonathon Brill:

“Discussions are ongoing” – Source

NUFC Statement:

“The £100M asking price has been matched, however, we are still in negotiations and all parties involved are at sale and purchase stage.” – Source

August 2009
Derek Llambias when Barry Moat was revealed as a potential buyer

“We would love to be able to expand further on the sale and managerial position at the club, but we’re very sorry we’re unable to make any further comment at the present time.” – Source

Derek Llambias later

“‘We’re in negotiations with Barry. [The deal is] there or thereabouts.” – Source

Newcastle spokesman:

“There will be an update on the situation on Monday.” – Source

Club statement:

“Newcastle United Football Club confirms that it has extended its deadline to Barry Moat to table an offer for the Club.The extension has been granted in order to allow Barry Moat and his advisors to conclude funding arrangements with Barclays, current bankers, for the continuation of last season’s £39m facility.This would allow a formal offer to be tabled.” – Source

July 2009
Derek Llambias:

“There have been more than two bids at £100m” – Source

Derek Llambias again:

“I can say we are very close to completing a deal and it could happen next week.” – Source

June 2009
Club Statement officially announces the club is for sale:

“The board of Newcastle United can today confirm that the club is for sale at the price of £100million. Interested parties should contact Newcastle United (or Keith Harris at Seymour Pierce) for further details. The club will not be making any further comment at the present time.” – Source

Derek Llambias talks up interest:

“There are three or four interested parties who we are talking to. They don’t want to be known just yet. That is how we are trying to do business. That is the proper way to do it, not by talking through the media.” – Source

May 2009
Ashley quoted by the times following relegation announces he is selling the club

“It has been catastrophic for everybody. I’ve lost my money and I’ve made terrible decisions. Now I want to sell it as soon as I can.” – Source

December 2008
Mike Ashley’s programme notes announce he is not selling the club

“I have withdrawn Newcastle United from the market, and for me 2009 will be the year in which we drive the Club forward together. Even when I haven’t been at games I have remained a keen supporter, kicking and heading every ball and cheering the team on TV and being the first to congratulate Joe whenever there’s a good result. When I took the decision to put the Club up for sale in September I made a point of saying two things were very important. Firstly, any potential buyer would have to show they had the best interests of Newcastle United at heart and had both the commitment and finance to be worthy custodians of such a fine football club before I would even consider doing a deal. And secondly, I gave you my word that as long as I remain owner, this Club would continue to be run responsibly at all levels. I hope you will accept that I have stood by that pledge.” – Source

September 2008
In a statement following the departure of Kevin Keegan and protests from supporters, Ashley announces the club is for sale

“I am putting the club up for sale. I hope that the fans get what they want and that the next owner is someone who can lavish the amount of money on the club that the fans want.” – Source

August 2008
In an interview with the club magazine, Mike Ashley made the case for other investors coming into the club.

“I’d like to start with people in the North East because there are some great people who come to our matches who sit in the corporate areas, and wouldn’t it be great to have local backing for what we are doing? Some of them would talk to me last season and say, “Mike, is there an opportunity for us to come into the club again because we were shareholders in the plc previously?” I’d tell them we’d look at it at the end of the season as there was no rush but why wouldn’t I welcome people who wanted to invest?” – Source

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