Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) was offered 30% of a Premier League club – believed to be Manchester United – for £700million before buying Newcastle United.
Reports in early 2019 suggested Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who is chairman of the sovereign wealth fund, was interested in a takeover of Old Trafford. He denied that any deal had materialized.
PIF has turned its attention to Newcastle. They struck a deal in April 2020 before waiting over a year for the deal to be ratified which ultimately cost them £305million. PIF now owns 80% of Newcastle, with the Reuben brothers’ RB Sports & Media owning 10% and Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners owning the remaining 10%.
And Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the PIF governor and Newcastle chairman, explained that they were first offered a stake at another Premier League club.
He said: “Football, of course, is one of the most important sports there is. Whether it’s domestically (in Saudi Arabia) or abroad. It’s the number one sport in the world.
“And why the English 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.
Al-Rumayyan continued, “When we looked at it, we looked at it from the financial angle. By the way, this was not the first offer we received regarding a football team.