Saudi's failed Newcastle takeover bidder switches attention to Inter Milan

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Saudi Arabia Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the G20 opening ceremony at the Hangzhou International Expo Center on September 4, 2016 in Hangzhou, China
Photo: Getty Images

In what appears to be a bad news for the Newcastle United supporters, several media reports in Italy confirm the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia is entering into formal talks with Italian giants Inter Milan.

Inter are owned by Chinese e-commerce giants Suning Holding Group, who have been looking to sell the club following the recent change in economic planning made by the Chinese government.

The Chinese authorities have been putting pressure on their leading firms to be more focused on the internal market and domestic demands and plans to curb investment abroad.

BC Partners has been the first to show interest in acquiring a majority share in Inter, but the British fund's offer is not the only one that Suning is considering.

According to La Repubblica, Corriere dello Sport and other reports in Italy, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia has also shown an interest in purchasing assets in the Serie A leaders, with negotiations between the two parties currently in progress.

The Saudi fund is only looking for 30 percent investment in Inter, which would allow Suning to keep hold of the club, but also continue the growth process with fresh funds.

PIF, which is one of the world's largest sovereign funds with assets worth £249 billion, was part of a consortium which launched a £340 million takeover bid for Premier League side Newcastle last year.

The company, which is controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, withdrew its attempt in July last year after losing patience amid scrutiny from the Premier League owners' and directors' test.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is currently involved in a court battle with the Premier League over the collapsed deal, but it seems as if PIF has pulled out and turned its focus to Inter instead.

The government of Riyad is instead keen to acquire a major sporting institution as the jewel in the crown of their Saudi Vision 2030.

The ambitious project put together by Prince Mohammad bin Salman is set to reduce the Kingdom's dependence on oil whilst diversifying its economy and investing in 13 different strategic sectors, with sports being one of them.

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