Ashley's decision to turn down the offer comes less than a week after he turned down a £40m-£40m offer from Moat indicating that a £60 million - £20 million split would be acceptable. With Moat still committed to completing a deal Ashley appears to be trying to squeeze the Tyneside businessman as hard as he can.
Related ArticlesChris Hughton revels in Newcastle winNewcastle 2 Doncaster 1Kevin Keegan wins £1.5m costs in Newcastle caseSport on televisionHughton needs financial backingHughton set for Newcastle jobLast week Ashley told Moat that he would make a decision by Wednesday evening only to ask for a further 28 hours to make his mind up on the offer.
That deadline stretched into the weekend, with Ashley hopeful that his prevarication would give alternative buyers the time to indicate their interest. With no serious buyers appearing on the horizon he appears determined to push Moat as hard as he can.
Despite the protracted and unpredictable negotiations, Moat remains determined to complete a deal and is understood to have solid funding plans in place.
He will be reluctant to commit funds that are desperately needed for team rebuilding to the up-front purchase however, and he may seek to raise additional funds to finally persuade Ashley to move on.
The latest development in a takeover negotiation that began in July will increase fears among supporters that Ashley intends to hang onto the club in the hope that they gain automatic promotion. If he does remain in charge he is likely to have to write off at least another £20 million to cover projected losses this season.