Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'UNITED TO BE SOLD IN Pounds 227m DEAL' Club Refuses to Confirm Dramatic Bid

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'UNITED TO BE SOLD IN Pounds 227m DEAL' Club Refuses to Confirm Dramatic Bid

Article excerpt

Byline: By Daniel Thomson and Richard Neale

NEWCASTLE United last night refused to comment on claims that a pounds 227m bid for the club had been accepted.

The reports claim secret talks have led to a joint bid by American financiers Polygon and the United Bank of Switzerland being accepted unanimously by the club's board.

The club remained tight-lipped about the prospect of a takeover, which is now said to be in the "due diligence" stage and expected to be completed in the New Year.

Under-fire chairman Freddie Shepherd will receive pounds 20m for his shares while the Hall family will reportedly walk away with around pounds 48m. Glenn Roeder is expected to stay on as manager with a transfer kitty of pounds 20m at his disposal.

The shock takeover scuppers rival interest shown by investors The Belgravia Group, who had been going through a similar due diligence process, without making a firm bid.

Polygon and UBS had reportedly been speaking to the Magpies since the summer before putting an offer of 93p per share on the United board's table.

With the deal picking up the club's debts of around pounds 87m, the offer values the club at pounds 140m.

One season ticket holder and shareholder, Jonathan Wells, last night told The Journal he would be happy with the deal.

"Anybody buying Newcastle for less than a couple of hundred of million would have been getting a bargain so I think Freddie Shepherd has held out for a better price," he said.

"I think it's probably good news. I think there's always been money to spend, though not as much money as the richer clubs.

"A transfer kitty of pounds 20m doesn't even go a quarter of the way towards what some of the clubs have. It's a question of whether we're ever going to challenge the top five.

"It would be nice to get back into the Liverpool and Arsenal area of the Premiers hip."

The United Bank of Switzerland are one of the most respected and profitable banks in the world. It is understood their primary interest in sport is looking after the fortunes of the world's richest sportsman while they are known to heavily sponsor golf. …

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