The owners of Sheffield United have reportedly accepted a £115million bid from American businessman Henry Mauriss to purchase the Championship club.
Mauriss attempted to buy Newcastle for £350m before a Saudi-backed consortium completed a takeover of the Toon in October. It’s believed the businessman held an exclusivity clause with former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley until talks collapsed in 2020.
The Blades are currently owned by Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a Saudi prince who purchased a 50 per cent share of the club in 2013. He won a long legal battle with previous co-owner Kevin McCabe to take full control of the club in 2019.
“No owner, director, coach or player is bigger than the club but together with the fans, we all share the common desire to make the club ever greater,” promised Prince Abdullah after winning the legal battle. Sheffield United were a Premier League team at the time.
“After over 20 months of contentious litigation, the club is delighted that this judgment brings an end to the uncertainty over Sheffield United’s future ownership and allows us to focus our full attention on the season ahead,” added a club statement in 2019.
It’s believed Prince Abdullah values the Blades at £115m, the amount reportedly offered by Mauriss. That would mark a substantial profit for the Saudi prince, as he was ordered to pay McCabe just £5m when he gained sole ownership two-and-a-half years ago.
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United are currently sixth in the Championship – occupying the final play-off spot – one point ahead of Millwall in seventh. They were relegated from the Premier League last season after finishing 20th with just 23 points to their name.
As reported by BBC Sport, any deal to buy the Blades would be subject to the EFL’s owners’ and directors’ test – which could take some time. Mauriss would need to prove his sources of funding and sustainability before a takeover can be finalised.
It’s understood two different parties have approached Prince Abdullah about purchasing the South Yorkshire club. Rumours about a regime change at Bramall Lane have been circulating for several weeks, according to local newspaper the Sheffield Star.
US tycoon Mauriss is thought to have made his wealth from the credit card and finance industry before entering the media and PR trade. Rumours suggest he is a Tottenham supporter and admires the work of Liverpool chiefs John Henry and Tom Werner.
As reported by The Athletic, Ashley appeared “baffled” by the slow pace of Mauriss’ attempted takeover of Newcastle. Sheffield United have declined to comment after being approached by the same outlet, while the EFL and Mauriss are yet to respond.
“In terms of a takeover, that’s not my business,” said Blades manager Paul Heckingbottom when asked earlier this week. “There’s nothing I can do to affect that. There’s no information I can give you because I don’t know anything.”