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Takeover Talk: Surprise! Mike Wants More Money

Fact: Mike Ashley does not like Dim Sum

Sunderland v Newcastle United - Premier League
He smiles because money
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

After a brief hiatus that saw Newcastle enter the best form we have seen all season, talks about the rumored Newcastle United takeover have returned. Sky Sports, the officially unofficial voice of Mike Ashley, has released a new piece that suggests Mike Ashley now values the club at £380-£400m as opposed to the £350m price we saw him name last summer. The full quote from the story is below.

Having gambled on Newcastle surviving the drop this season, it is understood Newcastle owner Mike Ashley will be looking to recoup between £380-£400m from the sale of the club, which is significantly more than the £300m that was offered by Staveley last October.

Our friend Lee Ryder from The Chronicle brings up a few reasons for why this jump in valuation occurred. He first points out that the valuation is based on the club’s season of stability in the Premier League and the fact that more TV money would set to be coming the way of potential new owners. He also points out the fact that when the initial takeover talks began the price was likely lower because the future of the club was unsure and the pursuing parties could have emerged with a bargain when buying the club.

The price jump does suck, and is totally unexpected, but this is Mike Ashley, and we should not be surprised. As Newcastle’s excellent run of form began, and they eventually clinched safety for this season, in the back of every Newcastle fan’s head is that Mike was going to bump up the price because of the team’s success. Couple this with the fact that Newcastle’s various TV appearances have racked them up a lot of cash. If you were in his shoes, you’d likely do the same thing, because you do want the most bang for your buck. So, while this is frustrating because it is Mike Ashley, it is important to recognize that this is a great business decision on his behalf.

Mark Douglas does bring up some excellent points on Twitter that are worth addressing. The first is that even though the price is a realistic one, and makes sense for Mike Ashley to name, there are a lot of factors that put off potential sellers.

Staveley and PCP are still the only confirmed interested party, and they had to lower their offer in order to compensate for heavy investment in the youth academy, training grounds and of course transfers. Douglas also brings up that point of PCP being the only interested buyer.

However, fans have brought up the point that if Ashley really wants to offload the club like he claims he does, he would accept any offer from PCP. The fact that he rejected the last two PCP bids, which were very close to his initial valuation, is living proof that he only wants to sell if it makes him a good amount of money. I am completely fine with that way of thinking, I just don’t think he should have acted like he was desperate to sell if he planned on profiting the most he could the whole time.

The person this effects the most is Rafa. After 2 and a half seasons under Ashley, it is evident that Rafa might be fed up. A writeup of today’s press conference from the Independent, just before Sky Reported the price jump (likely not a coincidence), say Rafa is yet again pushing Ashley to spend this summer, and the fact that he has not extended his contract is not good news for the club. This takeover drama only sheds light on the pettiness of Mike Ashley, and that is not an attractive reason for Benitez to stay at Newcastle. As fans, all we can do is wait and hope for wonderful news of any kind, but for now we must focus on the task at hand; finishing the season strong.