Mike Ashley Taking Legal Action Against Premier League Over Failed Saudi Takeover

Sep 14, 2020, 12:45 PM GMT+1
Mike Ashley, Lee Charnley
Mike Ashley is taking legal action against the Premier League | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has hired two lawyers to challenge the Premier League over the collapse of the proposed Saudi-led takeover.

Ashley had agreed a £300m deal to sell the club to a consortium led by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, but after months of consideration, the group eventually pulled out of talks amid concerns that the league were never going to approve the deal.

Francois Hollande, Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud
Saudi crown prince Mohamed bin Salman leads the PIF | Chesnot/Getty Images

The controversial owner later released a statement expressing his frustration towards the collapse of the deal and threatening legal action, and Blackstone Chambers have now confirmed that Ashley has turned to them to take the Premier League to court.

"Shaheed Fatima QC and Nick De Marco QC are acting for Newcastle United FC and Mike Ashley (instructed by Dentons) in a dispute with the Premier League about its rejection of a takeover bid made by PCP Capital Partners, the Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) based on its Owners and Directors test," a statement read.

The Daily Mail add that Ashley has been told he has a strong case against the league, suggesting that they did not conduct the Owners' and Directors' Test properly.

Mike Ashley
Ashley is keen to sell for £300m | Michael Regan/Getty Images

This whole situation is a little weird. The consortium pulled out of talks after the Premier League's delayed decision, only for league officials to later claim they had never blocked the deal and were still waiting to receive all the relevant information needed to approve any takeover.

Given the Premier League never actually blocked the takeover, some sources close to the situation have questioned how legal action can even be pursued as it was the proposed buyers who withdrew from the situation.

Those same sources state that the league have full discretion when it comes to the Owners' and Directors' Test, insisting there is no strict protocol to follow and the league can request whatever information needed in order to reach a 'reasonable objective opinion'.

Ashley is understood to be hopeful of convincing the group to submit a fresh bid. The consortium have previously indicated a willingness to do so, but their concerns over the league's willingness to sanction a deal remain.

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