July 21

Newcastle sale scuppered by Americans hedge fund losses

first_imgNewcastle sale scuppered by Americans’ hedge fund losses Reuse this content Share on Messenger This article is more than 10 years old Newcastle United Matt Scott Mon 12 Jan 2009 19.01 EST Share via Email Share on Facebook First published on Mon 12 Jan 2009 19.01 EST Newcastle United Premier League Mike Ashley’s attempt to offload Newcastle United was foiled by the allegedly fraudulent activities of Bernard Madoff, the hedge fund manager currently under house arrest while the US authorities investigate suspicions that he masterminded a £32bn fraud. Two wealthy Americans had indicated their intention to lodge a formal offer for the club with the broker Keith Harris, whose Seymour Pierce company had been engaged by Ashley to find a buyer.The bid was expected last month but never materialised. Harris learned later that the two investors had been exposed to Madoff’s suspected pyramid scheme at a cumulative cost of more than $300m (£201m).That astonishing loss instantly put an end to their interest in Newcastle. “A few weeks ago there was a decent degree of positive thought and optimism that there would be a buyer and then, amongst others, Mr Madoff came along,” said Harris. “There were two people that were looking at Newcastle with us who lost, let’s say, over $300m to Madoff.”That sum equates to close to the asking price Ashley had set for Newcastle. “Mike Ashley put his hand in his own pocket and paid off all the debt,” Harris said. “What you were acquiring would have meant not looking at having to worry about what do I do when the banks want their money back.”Instead the Americans now have other, more pressing worries.Arsenal shares turn overNot all wealthy Americans are turning away from football. Stan Kroenke has continued to invest in Arsenal shares, picking up £100,000 worth on 23 December. The stake pushes his holding in the club to 12.4%. Kroenke was appointed as a non-executive director last October and his purchase could indicate a renewed desire to take over the club. A further eight shares changed hands in a single transaction yesterday and, if the buyer was Kroenke a declaration to the stockmarket will be due today or tomorrow. Club kremlinologists at the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, a shareholders’ group, speculate that Kroenke might have been sending a message to the third-largest shareholder, Nina Bracewell-Smith. Lady Bracewell-Smith had been ousted as a board director less than a week before Kroenke’s block purchase, meaning her 15.9% shareholding now confers her no perks. It could be that the board is exercising a strategy to pressure Bracewell-Smith into cashing in her asset to Kroenke. IPL agreement nearKevin Pietersen would risk his entire career if he were to quit the England team in favour of a $1.5m contract in the Indian Premier League, according to sources involved in the competition. “He has taken one risk and it has backfired,” said an insider. “No one would want him to try to become the world’s first Twenty20 player. Players need to be currently involved in international cricket for Indian fans to engage with them.” Pietersen, below, and his peers in the England team have yet to sign the central contracts they have held since last October, with one of the elements under negotiation being the stipulation over how long England players will be allowed to play in the IPL. Meetings took place last week between the ECB and the Professional Cricketers’ Association, with both parties holding out hope that agreement can be reached before the team flies to the Caribbean on 21 January.Redknapp’s hard bargainHarry Redknapp has a reputation as one of the canniest transfer-market operators and it is a gift he has worked for more than 20 years. The Tottenham Hotspur manager told the audience at the Football Writers’ Association’s gala tribute evening in his honour on Sunday that in early 1985 he picked up the telephone to someone who was quitting as a director of Maidstone United. “Harry, Mark Newson’s available,” said the voice on the end of the phone. “Tottenham want him but, if you’re quick, you can have him for nothing because he’s not registered with the Football Association.” Redknapp, then Bournemouth’s manager, checked with the FA’s registrations department and the story checked out. Later he called Barry Fry, who was Maidstone’s manager. “Barry, I’m calling about Mark Newson.” “Tottenham want him but we haven’t agreed a fee,” replied Fry. “They’ve offered £100,000 but we might get £200,000.” “You won’t,” replied Redknapp. “I’ve just signed him on a free.” This article is more than 10 years oldcenter_img Share via Email Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook news Digger Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest Topics Digger Share on Twitter Shares00 Share on LinkedInlast_img

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