Newcastle suitor confirms takeover interest

21-08-2006

A Jersey-based investment firm has confirmed that it is considering a takeover bid for Premiership football club Newcastle United.

Belgravia has made the announcement after newspaper reports over the weekend said that company representatives had met with the club's majority shareholder Sir John Hall, who has a 40 per cent stake in the Tyneside club along with his son.

"Following recent press speculation, the Belgravia group confirms that it is examining the potential opportunity of acquiring Newcastle United, which may or not lead to an offer for the company being made by Belgravia," a statement to the stock exchange said.

Shares in the club, which is valued at more than £80 million, went up by about 11 per cent following the announcement, but a major stumbling block to any prospective bid could be the stance of chairman Freddy Shepherd, who has consistently halted acquisition attempts to protect his 28 per cent stake.

Belgravia has said it will make a further announcement if talks progress into a firm bid, with today's development following last week's news that Aston Villa had accepted a £63 million takeover offer from US tycoon Randy Lerner.

The Magpies made a solid start to their Premiership season this weekend when they beat Wigan 2-1.


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