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20th Sep 2021

Saudi Arabian PIF reportedly interested in purchasing Inter Milan rather than Newcastle

Daniel Brown

Newcastle have accused the Premier League of breaching competition regulations

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) are reportedly ready to turn their attention to purchasing Inter Milan rather than Newcastle United, despite the fact that the Magpies are set to receive its first hearing next week regarding their anti-competition claim against the Premier League, as per The Northern Echo.

Newcastle are accusing the Premier League of breaching competition regulations when they conducted their ‘owners and directors’ test into the proposed takeover of the club early last year, leading the Magpies to chase a claim under section 47a of the Competition act against the governing body.

Current owner Mike Ashley claims that the Premier League rejected a bid from Amanda Staveley to purchase the club, but the league remains adamant that not only did they follow all the relevant legislation, but they never formally rejected the Saudi-backed takeover proposal.

“Newcastle United can confirm that the Premier League has rejected 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,” read a Newcastle statement issued in 2020.

“This conclusion has been reached despite the club providing the Premier League with overwhelming evidence and legal opinions that PIF is independent and autonomous of the Saudi Arabian government.”

On September 29, a tribunal panel made up of the Honourable Mr Justice Snowden, Michael Cutting and Tim Frazer are set to listen to evidence from the Premier League before deciding whether or not Newcastle’s case can move forward.

Should the tribunal panel allow proceedings to take place, a timetable will then be created to allow for a full hearing in front of the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Over the weekend, Italian media outlets reported that the PIF have grown frustrated with how long it is taking to receive an exact answer regarding their pursuit of purchasing Newcastle and in turn, are tempted to increase their efforts to purchase Italian giants Inter Milan.

Evidently, the timings and outcome of the initial proceedings could have a significant impact on the PIF’s decision and whilst the The Public Investment Fund – established in 1971 – could technically purchase a stake in both Newcastle and Inter, other reports from Italy suggest that their preference is to complete one deal which would allow them to achieve a notable position in the European football market.

Ashely’s hopes of resurrecting last year’s deal to sell Newcastle to the PIF could potentially rest on the outcome of talks between the fund and Inter, who are reportedly losing nearly €12m a month despite securing around €130m in transfer fees in the summer after selling players such as Romelu Lukaku – who returned to Chelsea – and Achraf Hakimi, who joined PSG.

With Inter Milan’s owners, the China-based Suning Group, wanting to sell at least half of their shares in the club after suffering from notable financial difficulties since completing their own purchase of a controlling interest in the club from Erick Thohir in 2016, Newcastle could very possibly see themselves miss out on a deal.

Considering that the PIF – one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world – have been rumoured to be interested in securing a takeover of Inter Milan for the last year, the result of the Magpies’ first hearing next week could be pivotal.

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