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Volume 10 No. 22

Franchises

Premier League side Newcastle Owner Mike Ashley "ended the possible takeover" of the club by Amanda Staveley amidst claims the talks were "exhausting, frustrating and a complete waste of time," according to Martin Hardy of the London INDEPENDENT. Those close to Ashley claimed despite Staveley and PCP Capital Partners’ interest in buying the club in October of last year, when Ashley officially put it up for sale, "a firm enough offer was never tabled." Ashley reportedly "wanted a figure in excess" of £350M ($483M) for the club he bought from John Hall in '07 for £134M. Talks "were believed to have fallen way short, with the highest figure suggested" at around the £250M ($345M) mark, "although there were thought to be a series of clauses -- including one for relegation -- in those talks." Senior Newcastle execs "became increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress in negotiations, and were concerned about the validity of the potential bidder." As such, any sale to Staveley "has now been called off" (INDEPENDENT, 1/16).

Premiership Rugby side London Irish Owner Mick Crossan "responded to claims" that the club accepted a £3.5M ($4.8M) buyout deal, according to the IRISH POST. Crossan, who also serves as club president, "reaffirmed his long-term commitment to the Exiles," but said that the club "had been speaking to a number of investors." The Irishman made the statement after a report appeared in the London Telegraph claiming a consortium of five businessmen -- three of whom are based in Ireland -- made the multi-million pound offer, which had been formally discussed in a solicitor's office in London last week. The £3.5M takeover offer was reportedly "made before Christmas and was awaiting a response from the London Irish board." In its latest statement, London Irish said that it "would only entertain working with investors that offer long-term security." Crossan: "I am aware of the approach discussed in a recent article in The Telegraph and can confirm that we have not accepted any offers of investment to date" (IRISH POST, 1/16).

Tottenham is in talks with Overwatch team London Spitfire "over a future partnership." Spurs execs "have been looking into other brand link-ups for the future." Spitfire President Dan Fiden said, "I will tell you that we have not made a partnership with anyone yet. We have had conversations with a number of teams, Tottenham is one of them" (THE SUN, 1/16).

Chelsea
launched a new campaign aimed at raising awareness of anti-Semitism among its players, fans and staff. Set to launch ahead of its game against Bournemouth on Jan. 31, the initiative "is part of the club’s on-going inclusion work" through the Chelsea Foundation’s Building Bridges campaign (JEWISH NEWS, 1/16).

Data analytics firm Peak announced it is working with Arsenal as part of the club’s new innovation program. The Arsenal Innovation Lab will see Manchester-based Peak and five other startups help the club identify new opportunities and develop groundbreaking fan experiences (BDAILY, 1/16).