Newcastle United: Amanda Staveley still interested in takeover

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley with managing director Lee Charnley
Mike Ashley took charge of the club in 2007

Businesswoman Amanda Staveley says she still wants to buy Newcastle United despite owner Mike Ashley ending £250m takeover talks this week.

Ashley said in October he wanted to sell the club after 10 years in charge.

He was believed to have been close to selling to Staveley's PCP Capital Partners group but talks ended when they failed to match Ashley's valuation of the club.

"I'm very much still interested," Staveley told The Times.

BBC Sport understands there has been no formal contact between the Ashley and Staveley teams since before Christmas.

But Staveley told the newspaper: "Our bid remains on the table.

"This is an investment, but it has to be a long-term investment. Newcastle would be run as a business, but we want it to be a successful, thriving business that is an absolutely integral part of the city."

She also added that manager Rafael Benitez was fundamental to her bid, adding: "Rafa is doing an incredible job. We want Rafa to be part of this project."

A Newcastle source told BBC Sport earlier this week: "Ashley was unhappy with their approach and feels discussions have been a waste of time but the club remains up for sale."

Staveley's group, which is thought to be backed by money from the Middle East and China, is one of a series of prospective buyers that signed non-disclosure agreements with the club last year.

It made a formal offer for the club in November which, it is understood, could have eventually risen to £300m if certain targets were met.

Staveley helped broker the purchase of Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour in 2009 and it was reported that she led Dubai International Capital's £400m bid for Liverpool in 2008.

Ashley, 53, has been a divisive figure at St James' Park, with some supporters regularly protesting about the way the businessman has run the club.

He bought Newcastle for £134.4m in 2007. Their latest accounts showed a profit of £900,000 and turnover of £126m in 2015-16.

The club have been relegated twice from the Premier League during Ashley's 10-year reign and are currently 16th in the top flight after 16 games, having won promotion last season under Rafael Benitez.

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