SBD/Issue 29/Franchises

Newcastle United Reportedly Close To Agreeing To Takeover Deal

Ashley (c) Reportedly Nearing Deal
To Sell Newcastle United For $468M
English Premier League (EPL) club Newcastle United reportedly is "close to agreeing" to a US$467.5M takeover deal with Kuwait businessman Nasser Al-Kharafi, according to Emily Benammar of the London TELEGRAPH. Sources close to Al-Kharafi "believe a firm offer will be made" to Newcastle Owner Mike Ashley. The deal would be "channeled through an Abu Dhabi company, but Al-Kharafi will be the man behind it." A source said, "It is possible the deal could be done by next week" (London TELEGRAPH, 10/24).

CHARLTON: The LONDON TIMES reports Dubai-based Zabeel Investments "has decided against pursuing its takeover" of English Coca-Cola Championship League club Charlton Athletic. Charlton Thursday in a statement confirmed the news, saying that Zabeel would instead "concentrate on domestic business opportunities." The news "will come as a blow to Charlton, who had reported debts" of US$31.2M. Zabeel, which also has been "linked with a takeover of Newcastle United," reportedly has "turned their attentions" to EPL club Everton. But Zabeel insisted that it is "no longer in the market for an English club" (TIMESONLINE.co.uk, 10/23).

ARSENAL: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Tariq Panja reported EPL club Arsenal "remains confident of profit projections from a housing development at its old soccer stadium," and the club said that it "can withstand a 'pretty difficult time' as the U.K. faces recession." Arsenal "expects [US$564M] in profit" from the Highbury Square project, where "most of the 655 apartments marketed have been pre-sold, and 90 purchases completed have generated sales of [US$60.9M]." Arsenal in September announced that its debt rose to US$496.5M after the costs of converting Highbury. The Highbury debt "stands at [US$208.5M]." Arsenal Chair Peter Hill-Wood: "We are in constant talks with our bankers and any sale proceeds from now onwards will go towards paying our debt." Hill-Wood added that the "debt is 'ring-fenced' and not leveraged against Arsenal Holdings PLC's soccer assets." Hill-Wood said that Arsenal is "well placed to withstand the expected economic downturn" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 10/23).

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