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Saudi-backed consortium pulls out of bid to buy Newcastle United

July 31, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

A Saudi Arabian-backed consortium has withdrawn its bid to buy English Premier League side Newcastle United.

(CNN)A Saudi Arabian-backed consortium has withdrawn its bid to buy English Premier League side Newcastle United.

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) had been part of a three-party deal fronted by PCP Capital Partners, a venture capital and private equity company founded and run by British businesswoman Amanda Staveley, and real estate firm Reuben Brothers, which wanted to buy the club from English businessman Mike Ashley.

"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," the consortium said in a statement on Thursday.

"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.

Before a takeover goes through, any successful bid must pass English football's Owners' and Directors' test, which evaluates the suitability of ownership groups.

Amnesty International had argued that Saudi Arabia's interest in Newcastle was a form of "sportswashing" and "a PR tool to distract from the country's abysmal human rights record," while Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of late journalist Jamal Khashoggi, said the takeover would "stain" the Premier League.

Injections of cash from Middle East owners is nothing new for football; Manchester City has won four Premier League titles having been bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008, while Paris Saint-Germain has assembled one of the best squads in Europe under the ownership of sovereign wealth fund Qatar Sports Investments.

For Newcastle, which finished 13th in the Premier League last season, the search for new owners rolls on.

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