American businessman Henry Mauriss has underlined a commitment to buy Newcastle after the Saudi-backed bid failed.
California-based media mogul Mauriss has been waiting in the wings with a rival offer while the Premier League deliberated on the £300million plan by financial ‘fixer’ Amanda Staveley and her PCP Capital Partners group.
Staveley, with the backing of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund and property developers Simon and David Reuben, hoped to secure the Premier League’s approval.
But in a crushing blow to hopeful Geordie fans, Staveley’s Saudi backers pulled the plug on the venture, which was beset by increasing problems and seen as too risky for the Premier League to sanction.
And that has put Mauriss in position to press on with his own pursuit of Newcastle.
A source close to Mauriss said: “Henry is still interested in buying and is totally focused about trying to get a deal done.
“But it won’t be played out in public – that’s not his style. He has been watching developments and having discussions with his advisors. Mike Ashley and his lawyers are aware of Henry’s interest as they had discussions in December.
“Henry is genuinely interested in buying Newcastle. He’s a strategist. He’s been studying other Premier League clubs and making plans. Let’s see.”
Doubts have been raised about the exact wealth of Mauriss, 56, CEO of US cable network Clear TV, but those around him insist he has the necessary funds to buy the club.
The American guards his privacy and has refused requests to outline his plans, preferring to keep a low profile.
Since the Saudi deal collapsed Toon owner Mike Ashley, believed to be in Miami, has stressed his desire to sell. His aides say he hopes Saudi interest can be revived, but privately he knows it won’t happen.
The Saudis are embarrassed at a loss of face in the global business community, with piracy and human rights issues undermining their bid.
Ashley isn’t happy either, despite reportedly pocketing a £17million non-returnable deposit from the failed consortium. He is furious it took over four months for a decision to be made.
And he wants to know why he wasn’t fully aware of all the details contained in the damning World Trade Organisation report on Saudi Arabian piracy.
It discovered a representative of the Saudi Arabian regime had facilitated the illicit activities of pirate network beoutQ.
The platform was found to have illegally broadcast Premier League games as well as other high-profile sporting events.
The onset of the coronavirus crisis also hampered Ashley and his legal team being able to get ‘face time’ with Premier League chief Richard Masters to assess the bid’s viability.
The final straw for the Premier League was when human rights group Amnesty International backed Hatice Cengiz in her letter to Masters asking him to block the Saudi takeover.
Cengiz was the fiancee of murdered Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi.
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