Report: Former Chelsea CEO Peter Kenyon in Newcastle takeover talks

5 December 2018 | Clubs & Rightsholders
Report: Former Chelsea CEO Peter Kenyon in Newcastle takeover talks
English exec fronting Rockefeller Capital-backed consortium.

Peter Kenyon, the former Chief Executive of English soccer giants Chelsea and Manchester United, is fronting the consortium said to be at the centre of takeover talks with Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, according to UK media reports.

The news follows the declaration from the embattled owner of the Premier League outfit that talks over a sale “are at a more progressed stage than they have ever been.”

Although it is unknown whether an official bid has been submitted, it is believed that a possible deal with Kenyon and US financial advisory firm Rockefeller Capital is what Ashley was hinting at.

The English top flight’s busy Christmas schedule, combined with the impending departure of the league’s Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore, both make the prospect of a swift conclusion to negotiations more complex. However, Ashley told Sky News on Monday that he is hopeful of completing a deal before the end of 2018.

He said: “I am hopeful for the Newcastle fans, for the club, for everybody, that I will be able to step aside and we will be able to get an owner in that will please everybody.

“I'd like it to be before the January transfer window.”

Asked about the likelihood of the month-long timeframe being met, he described it as “possible,” stopping short of calling it realistic – saying it was “too strong a word.”

He added: “Hopefully we can carry on the good form - just recent good form - and we can get the deal done.”

Ashley has endured a fractious relationship with Newcastle fans, culminating in a protest at the club’s last home game – a 3-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday.

Ashley’s inability and unwillingness to sell the club for less than his reported UK£400 million (US$512 million) asking price has left the team in a constant state of on-field struggle.

Manager Rafa Benitez has repeatedly bemoaned a lack of financial support in the transfer market, with the result being consecutive seasons battling against relegation. The club’s precarious Premier League status has, in turn, made potential investors wary of meeting Ashley’s demands, with fears of the economic impact that any relegation to the Championship might have.

After taking just three points from their opening ten games, Benitez’s side have improved recently, winning three successive games before West Ham eased past them at St James’ Park.

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