Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ashley Now Has Offer to Consider; Moat Submits His Written Bid: Moat Submits Written Offer for Ashley's Consideration

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ashley Now Has Offer to Consider; Moat Submits His Written Bid: Moat Submits Written Offer for Ashley's Consideration

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Edwards

BARRY Moat has finally submitted a written offer to Mike Ashley as he looks to push through his takeover of Newcastle United following the resolution of Kevin Keegan's FA arbitration hearing. Although the offer is slightly below Ashley's pounds 100m asking price, United's owner has asked for time to consider it and Moat is confident he will receive an answer in the next few days. Ashley, of course, does not have to sell if he does not want to and Dennis Wise's comments over the weekend made it clear the sports shop retailer is considering holding on to the club in the hope promotion back to the Premier League can be secured.

Significantly, though, the official bid appears to suggest Moat has come to an agreement with Barclays Bank regarding the size of the overdraft which will be made available to him after he was initially only offered a pounds 10m safety net. That would have meant he needed to raise another pounds 15m on top of the pounds 100m asking price as he would have to immediately reduce the club's overdraft if he took control as Barclays have been willing to grant Ashley a larger facility - pounds 25m - secured against his greater personal assets. Given the submission of a written offer to Ashley, Moat has either secured increased financial backing from his investors to cover that extra cost - thought to be based in America - or Barclays have changed their mind about the size of the overdraft.

The Journal understands Alan Shearer, who will be appointed manager if Moat succeeds, has been buoyed by the news but, like United supporters, he has seen too many false dawns this summer to assume an end is in sight to this frustratingly protracted tale. Ashley has steadfastly maintained over the summer - or rather managing director Derek Llambias has on behalf of his boss - that he will not lower his asking price. But he remains as unpopular as ever on Tyneside and it is difficult to see how he can possibly look forward to the prospect of holding on to the club when there is so much anger directed at him, whether the Magpies are playing at home or away. …

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