Billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan has denied that companies owned by him have expressed interest in purchasing English football club, Newcastle United, according to news reports today (Thursday).
The past two weeks, various newspapers from Malaysia, Singapore and United Kingdom reported that Ananda was leading a Malaysian consortium of investors in talks with owner Mike Ashley to takeover Newcastle, a club which has a large fan base.
Ashley's asking price is RM570 million. But, the problem with the club is its high annual wages bill, said to be almost RM400 million.
A statement from Ananda's Usaha Tegas Sdn Bhd on Wednesday, refuted the reports which speculated the billionaire's interest.
However, those in the football circle say there is another Malaysian group which has expressed interest in buying the English club, who were relegated from the Premier League last season.
The second group is said to be led by former Malaysian Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin.
The British media had reported that representatives of several interested consortium have recently inspected Newcastle's stadium and training ground.
A Singapore based consortium with former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd is also interested in purchasing Newcastle.