Mike Ashley sues Amanda Staveley, demands return of £10m Newcastle United takeover loan
Mike Ashley is suing Newcastle United’s new co-owners for violating the terms of a £10 million loan he gave them to facilitate the sale, which said they would not publicize his 14-year tenure at the club would criticize, MailOnline may reveal.
Sports Direct owner Mr Ashley alleges wealthy businesswoman Amanda Staveley failed to pay the loan after she breached an agreement not to criticize his leadership of the club in the media and refuse any advertising of his company until it to leave it at its home base at the end of the year. the current football season.
Ashley’s legal team have filed documents with the High Court of London demanding the immediate return of the £10million, plus interest, which they say has been given to Mrs Staveley to cover ‘consultative, legal and other costs and commissions’, in return to adhere to the strict terms.
Her longtime partner, Mehrdad Ghodoussi, a wealthy Iranian businessman, is being charged as part of the proceedings in his role as guarantor that she would repay it.
After lengthy negotiations, the Newcastle sale was finally confirmed last November after it was acquired in a controversial £305 million deal by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is owned by the country’s government.
Negotiations for the sale were led by wealthy businesswoman Mrs Staveley, 48, who also owns a 10% stake in the club.
Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley (left) alleges wealthy businesswoman Amanda Staveley (right) failed to pay the loan after breaching an agreement not to criticize his leadership of the club in the media
Club director Amanda Staveley and partner Mehrdad Ghodoussi (left) with newly appointed Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe
She is estimated to be worth £100 million and is chief executive of PCP Capital Partners. Ms Staveley has publicly stated that she has invested her ‘family money’ in Newcastle United.
But in another dramatic twist, the High Court document filed by Mr Ashley’s legal team questions this.
They claim Ms Staveley only managed to secure her 10% stake in Newcastle United after getting a £30m loan from the billionaire property developers the Reuben brothers, who are also part of the takeover consortium and another 10 own % of the club.
Under the loan deal, which closed last October and is at the center of the legal dispute between Ms Staveley and Mr Ashley, she had two years to repay his £10million. In court documents, his lawyers claim she knew full well that if she violated any of the terms, she would have to return the money immediately.
They state that this was specifically stated in the loan agreement she had with him and that it would be considered a ‘defect’ if Ms Staveley publicly ‘admonished’ his government at Newcastle United.
The document states: ‘Mr. Ashley wanted protection from public criticism of his tenure as beneficial owner of NUFCL (Newcastle United Football Club Limited) by new owners and/or managers of NUFCL, because such criticism weighs heavily.”
The document alleges that despite this, Ms Staveley publicly criticized Mr Ashley’s leadership of Newcastle United in the national media after the takeover, which ‘diminished’ his reputation as portrayed in a ‘negative light’.
It features a series of media interviews where these comments were made, claiming they were “derogatory” and “discrediting” Mr Ashley’s time at the club.
His lawyers allege Sports Direct also suffered a ‘marketing loss’ after signage was removed from Newcastle’s home base, St James’ Park.
Staveley is estimated to be worth £100m and is chief executive of PCP Capital Partners
Ms Staveley is accused of speaking publicly about her desire to get this done as soon as possible after the sale in a series of articles that have appeared in the national media, despite agreeing with Ashley that a part of it would remain.
The document adds: “Consistently, the statements of First Defendant (Mrs Staveley), as cited in the articles above, individually and collectively, seek to communicate, believe and believe correct, an adverse opinion on Mr Ashley as beneficial owner and /or to endorse. from NUFCL.
“In addition, or in the alternative, these statements were either intended to damage Mr. Ashley’s reputation with respect to his property and/or management of NUFCL, or could reasonably be expected to do so.”
Mr Ashley’s lawyers initially asked Ms Staveley’s legal team on 17 November 2021 for the return of the £10 million loan, but it was not paid, resulting in the current legal process.
A spokesperson for Ms Staveley and Mr Ghodoussi said: ‘A company owned by Mike Ashley has filed suit against Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi. The claim is related to the acquisition of NUFC.
Ms Staveley and Mr Ghodoussi do not intend to comment on the details of the lawsuit, but they are confident that they will fully defend the claim.
The lawsuit will not distract Ms Staveley or Mr Ghodoussi from their hard work at Newcastle United, especially as they focus on the opportunities and deadlines presented by the January transfer window.”