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Reuben brothers have power to buy Newcastle but not the desire

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This week has been a hugely disappointing one for the majority of Newcastle United's fanbase after yet another takeover bid of the club collapsed.

In news that confirmed the worst fears of many fans, the bid led by Amanda Staveley – and which most prominently involved Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, referred to as the Public Investment Fund (PIF) – was withdrawn.

While the PIF was buying an 80 percent controlling stake in the club, with PCP Capital taking 10 percent of the ownership, the remaining 10 percent would have belonged to David and Simon Reuben.

The PIF may have pulled out of the investment, but would the Reuben brothers not be able to afford the purchase of the club without the help of the Saudi support?

The Reuben family have become one of the wealthiest in the UK and a year ago, they were named as the second richest people by the Sunday Times Rich List with a net worth of £18.664billion.

The Reuben family clearly have sufficient wealth to buy a Premier League football club of Newcastle’s stature on their own if they so wish, but things are not that straightforward.

For instance, the brothers have accumulated huge levels of income and luxury but have done so away from the limelight. They don't appear comfortable with media appearances and not only they do not seek coverage, but they actively appear to avoid it.

They are individuals who value their privacy and indeed are one of the most secretive families in the UK, possibly because they believe this is the best footing for enhancing their own portfolio and protecting their assets.

Although this could be about to change, and perhaps their involvement – albeit a limited one – in the proposed takeover of Newcastle is part of their plan to increase their exposure and became widely known names.

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The Sunday Times recently outlined how they hosted a private cocktail party in their villa residence in the hills near Cannes earlier this year as an extension of the annual property conference.

Most of the guests in attendance had never met either David or Simon, but this was by design. The brothers are making a series of moves to bolster their profile.

One associate was cited by the report: “They have seen friends like the Barclay brothers become accepted members of the business establishment and now they want the same thing.

"They have watched individuals like Philip Green dominate the headlines in the financial pages and they clearly have the financial muscle to be part of this.”

After all, they have now hit double-billionaire status and have jumped from 253rd to 5th in the Sunday Times Rich List.

Whereas their initial wealth was built up abroad – their big breakthrough came in Russia and Afghanistan – the majority of their portfolio is now based in the swankiest areas of London, including Mayfair’s £300m Burlington Arcade, Shoreditch’s Curtain hotel and a £132m block in Piccadilly.

Yet the duo's property empire also includes the Newcastle Racecourse while Taras Properties – owned by the brothers – is behind plans to build a 14-floor scheme set to be called Bank House at the junction of Pilgrim Street and Swan House roundabout in the city.

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The takeover saga at Newcastle United has been the talk of Tyneside in recent months, with the £300m bid from Amanda Staveley, Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and the Reuben brothers now being wthdrawn.

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However, reports did suggest that the Reubens had little interest in full ownership of the club although Jamie, David’s son – who is aged 32 and is currently in a director position at Queen’s Park Rangers – was being lined up to have a seat on the club’s board.

Jamie is a friend of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whom he previously campaigned for politically, while it has been suggested his position at QPR is due to his friendship with the West London club’s owner Amit Bhatia.

It appears that the Reubens would have more than enough wealth to finance a takeover bid but owning a football club does not match their profile.

While that is slowly changing towards one which is more comfortable in the public eye, this would be quite a leap.

It is of course possible that the Reubens could provide funding for a future bid that is fronted by someone else, but it appears that Magpies fans may have to wait for some time yet for this to come to fruition.

For more news relating to Rangers, visit our sister site Rangers Live.
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