Three Singaporean entrepreneurs behind a Paris-based conglomerate are in “advanced” talks to buy English Premier League football club Newcastle United, the company said Monday, just weeks after a Saudi-backed bid was withdrawn.
Bellagraph Nova Group, which operates across 100 countries in fields ranging from finance to the sport, healthcare and luxury goods, said it has given Newcastle a letter of intent and proof it has funds for the purchase.
The company also said it had “enlisted the help” of former England captain and Newcastle legend Alan Shearer, along with fellow former player Michael Chopra.
The bid was announced after a Saudi-backed consortium withdrew its offer to buy Newcastle in late July, after months of waiting for Premier League approval.
“We are already negotiating the term of our acquisition of Newcastle Football Club. We are at the advanced stage of the purchasing,” a Bellagraph Nova Group spokesman told AFP.
Bellagraph Nova Group was co-founded by Singaporean cousins Nelson and Terence Loh and their business partner Evangeline Shen in 2008.
The Lohs are former investment bankers at JP Morgan, and are known to be keen sports fans who sponsored Singaporean racing driver Yuey Tan as well as the national muay Thai team, the Straits Times newspaper said.
Singaporean businessman Peter Lim already owns Spain’s six-time La Liga champions Valencia.
Bellagraph Nova said it sent a letter of intent and “proof of funds” to Newcastle on August 10.
The company’s founders “have declared their willingness to massively contribute to the development of the club through their solid and international structure and a combined business/sport devoting mindset”, it added.
Bellagraph Nova Group said it oversees 31 business “entities” worldwide, with group revenue of $12 billion in 2019 and 23,000 employees.
In its proposal, the company said it has “the necessary experience and resources to accelerate Newcastle United’s growth and realise its full potential”.
The Saudi-backed consortium, which included the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), PCP Capital Partners and billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben, had reportedly struck a £300 million ($391 million) deal to buy the club from unpopular owner Mike Ashley in April.
The PIF, chaired by Prince Mohammad bin Salman, had been set to take an 80 per cent stake under the proposed deal, which was criticised by human rights groups.