Man United stake offered to Saudi Arabia PIF before Newcastle takeover


REVEALED: Saudi Arabia’s PIF were offered a 30 per cent stake in a Premier League club – thought to be Man United – for £700m but with no actual control over managing them BEFORE they completed their £305m Newcastle takeover in 2021

  • PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan has revealed they were offered a 30 per cent stake in a Premier League club a year before they bought Newcastle United
  • The share would have cost £700m but didn’t come with any managing control
  • Saudi investors were linked with a buy-out of Manchester United in early 2019
  • PIF went on to purchase a complete controlling stake in Newcastle for £305m 

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) were offered a 30 per cent stake in a Premier League club – believed to be Manchester United – for £700million before they bought Newcastle United.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of PIF, said they looked at clubs in Italy, France and the United Kingdom before their £305m takeover at Newcastle, which was completed in October last year.

Al-Rumayyan said PIF were approached ‘on the basis that we take 30 per cent of the ownership, and we don’t interfere at all in terms of managing the club, for £700m.’

Reports in early 2019 suggested Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the chairman of the PIF sovereign wealth fund, was interested in buying United from the Glazer family.

No deal materialised and the Saudis turned their attention to buying Newcastle, who offered them and their fellow investors Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers complete control, in 2020.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), has revealed they were offered a 30 per cent stake in a Premier League club in 2019

The Saudi investors were linked with buying a share of Manchester United in early 2019

The Saudi investors were linked with buying a share of Manchester United in early 2019

Their £305m deal took over a year to be ratified.

In an interview in Saudi Arabia, Al-Rumayyan said: ‘Football, of course, is one of the most important sports there is. Whether domestically or abroad.

‘It’s the No 1 sport in the world. And why the Premier League? Because it’s the best league in the world. No other league competes with it.

‘There are 20 teams, three are relegated and three are promoted. The advantage of the Premier League is that any of the 20 teams can beat the best team in the league.

‘When we looked at it, we looked at it from a financial perspective. By the way, it wasn’t the first offer we got regarding a football team. We looked in Italy, France and the UK as well.

PIF went on to buy Newcastle United for £305m - Al-Rumayyan is pictured in the stands at St James' Park with fellow investor Amanda Staveley

PIF went on to buy Newcastle United for £305m – Al-Rumayyan is pictured in the stands at St James’ Park with fellow investor Amanda Staveley 

Man United's American owners, the Glazer family, have always insisted the club isn't for sale

Man United’s American owners, the Glazer family, have always insisted the club isn’t for sale

‘For example, in the UK there was a team that approached us on the basis that we take 30 per cent of the ownership, and we don’t interfere at all in terms of managing the club, for £700m.’

Al-Rumayyan went on to say that Newcastle offered far better value because PIF had more control over the club.

He added: ‘Then we bought Newcastle, who offered us 100 per cent of the ownership.

‘But Amanda Staveley and her husband who got us the opportunity told us, “We like it so much, we would like to be with you.” That was perfect.

‘Then came the Reuben family who are one of the biggest property investors, saying that, “We would like to come with you”, and these are one of the biggest investors in Newcastle.

Newcastle's players celebrate one of their goals in Saturday's 4-1 win over Fulham

Newcastle’s players celebrate one of their goals in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Fulham 

The club's fortunes have improved since the Saudi owners appointed Eddie Howe as manager

The club’s fortunes have improved since the Saudi owners appointed Eddie Howe as manager

‘I said, “Perfect! Tell them to come”. So now they have a skin in the game.

‘We bought the whole team for £305m, instead of having only 30 per cent in another team for £700m.’

Newcastle were fighting relegation when the Saudi takeover took place but their fortunes improved after Eddie Howe replaced Steve Bruce as manager and they ultimately finished 11th.

They have lost only once in the Premier League so far this season, but have drawn five times and won only twice to sit seventh.

Newcastle beat Fulham 4-1 at Craven Cottage on Saturday and host Brentford this weekend.

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