Kardashian friend to help Saudi Arabia buy Newcastle United
Kardashian friend Carla DiBello to help Saudi Arabia 'acquire Newcastle United for £350 million'
A friend of Kim Kardashian is working with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund to buy Newcastle football club.
A friend of the Kardashian family is allegedly helping to broker a deal for Saudi Arabia to buy Newcastle United football club.
Carla DiBello, an entrepreneur who is close with the Kardashians, is advising on Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund's proposed acquisition of the Premier League football club, people with knowledge of the purchase told Bloomberg.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF) is under the control of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the initial deal had been brought to him by a British financer called Amanda Staveley, who is working alongside DiBello.
The PIF has been in discussion with UK billionnaire tycoon Mike Ashley for the past six months, and it appears DiBello's involvement could bring the purchase one step closer to completion. It will set Saudi back $440 million (£350 million), a figure which is reportedly on the table.
PIF, led by Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan is part of MBS's push to diversify the Saudi economy in an attempt to move away from oil.
It manages about $320 billion of assets, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.
Saudi Arabia has not confirmed its intentions about the purchase.
DiBello set up her own boutique consulting firm called CDB Advisory, which specialises in setting up business relationships between the Middle East and North America, according to its website.
|Carla DiBello (L), Kris Jenner (M), Kim Kardashian (R) [Getty]|
She has been involved in some $250 million deals, and also has a style column in Harper’s Bazaar Arabia.
Her friendship with the Kardashians spans years, and she even attended Kim's wedding to rapper Kanye West in 2014.
DiBello has made a number of trips to the gulf country over the past few months and has uploaded Instagram pictures attending the Desert Polo in January, the kingdom's yearly investment meet.
Accusations of 'sportwashing'
Saudi Arabia appears to be the latest Gulf state to be linked with a football team, and critics argue that such a move is being used to improve the state's reputation, which is surrounded by controversy over its human rights history and the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
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Real Madrid are sponsored by the UAE's Emirates airline and Abu Dhabi owns Manchester City, whilst Qatari businessman Nasser al-Khelaifi is the newest member of Uefa's executive committee.
Talks remain on rocky ground, and two years ago they almost collapsed entirely when a cash offer of £250 million was leaked to the media.
The UAE also expressed interest in Newcastle United, and Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of the ruling family also made an unsuccessful offer.
"I'm just very cautious," said one person with knowledge of the talks, adding that Ashley "can change his mind on a sixpence," according to the Financial Times.
A person with knowledge of Saudi plans said the acquisition had already been "blessed" by the state, with plans to introduce "KSA-type branding" on Newcastle's black and white striped shirt.
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