Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Profitable Confirm: We Want Newcastle; Profitable: We Want Magpies

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Profitable Confirm: We Want Newcastle; Profitable: We Want Magpies

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas

NEWCASTLE United have challenged the Singapore-based Profitable Group to provide "immediate proof" that they have the funds to back up their interest in buying the club.

At the start of another intriguing day of claims and counter-claims at St James's Park, Profitable contacted investment bankers Seymour Pierce to register their interest in making a bid for United.

But The Journal understands they are only one of four groups interested in taking over - and that two "serious" consortia have already provided proof that they have the funds to back up their interest.

A group led by a very wealthy South African-based banker, and another consortium fronted by former chairman Freddie Shepherd, are understood to be at a significantly more advanced stage than Profitable.

The group, whose members include former Liverpool midfielder Steve McMahon as commercial director, insist they are serious contenders and released a statement on their website yesterday confirming their interest.

But they admitted talks are at a "preliminary" stage - with the group yet to provide evidence of their financial backing or the ease with which they can access it. In a statement released on the group's website, they claimed their desire was to "serve the best interests of the club, fans and local community".

It read: "The Profitable Group can confirm that it has expressed an initial interest in acquiring Newcastle United.

"A preliminary discussion with the representatives appointed to handle the sale of the club has been held but contrary to some reports no direct talks have been held with either the owner, Mike Ashley, or the chairman, Derek Llambias.

"The group consider the leaking of the group's interest in this matter unfortunate, and as supporters of Newcastle United seek only to serve in the best interests of the club, the fans and the local community.

"The group will not be making any further comment at the present time." What is clear is that there remains huge scepticism at United that Profitable can raise the cash to meet Ashley's asking price - or that they have the money to back up their promises of significant funds for prospective new boss Alan Shearer. …

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