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Saudi Arabia-led consortium completes takeover of Newcastle United


 Newcastle United's long-awaited purchase by a Saudi-backed consortium has been approved, the Premier League said in a statement on Thursday.

The consortium includes the kingdom's $430 billion sovereign wealth fund PIF (Public Investment Fund), which had previously made public a £305 million ($415.07m) bid to buy the club from British businessman Mike Ashley in 2020.

However, that deal collapsed amid scrutiny from the Premier League, which came under pressure due to concerns over alleged broadcast piracy in Saudi Arabia.

The PIF will be the majority partner alongside British-based Reuben brothers and financier Amanda Staveley. The deal is said to be worth £300 million ($408 million).

In a statement, the league said: "The Premier League, Newcastle United Football Club and St James Holdings Limited have today settled the dispute over the takeover of the club by the consortium of PIF, PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media.

"Following the completion of the Premier League's Owners' and Directors' Test, the club has been sold to the consortium with immediate effect.

"The legal disputes concerned which entities would own and/or have the ability to control the club following the takeover.

"All parties have agreed the settlement is necessary to end the long uncertainty for fans over the club's ownership.

"The Premier League has now received legally binding assurances that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control Newcastle United Football Club.

"All parties are pleased to have concluded this process which gives certainty and clarity to Newcastle United Football Club and their fans."

A big issue was that of alleged piracy. Qatari-owned beIN Sports, the Premier League's broadcast rights holder across the Middle East, had been barred from operating in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom lifted that ban on Wednesday, clearing a major hurdle to the Newcastle deal.

It thus brought to an end Newcastle's 14 years of ownership under Ashley.

PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said: "We are extremely proud to become the new owners of Newcastle United, one of the most famous clubs in English football.

"We thank the Newcastle fans for their tremendously loyal support over the years and we are excited to work together with them."

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