Inside negotiating with the Saudis: "Arab investors tend to rely a bit more on their gut"

28 January 2020

MbS
Photo: Getty Images Mohammad bin Salman is spearheading plans to boost private investment, in part by purchasing assets overseas, but also by attracting investors to local business opportunities.

The rumoured takeover of Newcastle is in line with the country's vision of diversifying its economy, according to an attorney who has worked on many transactions involving Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund.

A deal the size of the rumoured Newcastle transaction is likely to have been worked on for more than six months.

Saudi negotiations differ to those of Western companies in several key aspects.

If contract disputes occur, bringing a claim against the Saudis is likely to end in failure.

Emil Gjerding Nielson nielson@offthepitch.com

Rumours of Saudi investment in European football have been rife in recent years. In 2018, Saudis were reported to be behind FIFA's revamped version of the Club World Cup while simultaneously the football gossip mill had them acquiring a huge stake in Manchester United. Ultimately, neither rumour had much bearing on the truth, but that has not prevented fresh speculation from once again making the rounds. 

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