Nigerians raising funds for Newcastle United bid

By Josh Widdicombe
Updated: September 23, 2008

LONDON — A consortium of wealthy Nigerians is planning to take over Newcastle United, according to reports in Africa. Owner Mike Ashley is trying to find a buyer for the club after announcing he wants to sell his stake just 16 months after staging a $134.4 million takeover, but he has so far been unsuccessful in securing a sale.

However, a Nigerian company claims it has $350 million and is bidding to secure more cash to fund a takeover bid.

Chris Nathaniel, the chief executive of NVA Management, whose company is handling the deal, said he is hopeful of making Nigeria the first African country to own a Premier League club.

“I have been working hard to get wealthy and football-loving Nigerian entrepreneurs to buy the club since Mike Ashley indicated his willingness to sell to the person, people or entrepreneurs who can meet the $400 million selling price of the club,” he said.

“I am happy to tell you that well-meaning Nigerians have responded and the consortium of Nigerian entrepreneurs has so far contributed $350 million to buy the club. Ashley has stood his ground that he won’t sell the club until the money is raised to the asking price of $400 million.”

“We need to raise another $50 or $100 million to shut the door behind the top Arab companies who are also interested in the club. The Arab companies have also indicated interest and made offers — but they haven’t met the asking price.”

Dubai International Capital, which has previously been linked with bids for Liverpool, has ruled itelf out of the running, saying it is not “planning a bid for any football club”.