Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has dismissed speculation he is ready to sell the club. Ashley, however, confirmed he is seeking investors amid reports that a series of potential purchasers, including a company owned by relatives of Osama bin Laden, have been sounded out. Asked about any plans to sell the club, the billionaire told the Evening Standard: 'That is not true. 'I would say that I am keen to have partners in Newcastle. That's a very expensive seat I sit in.' Questioned further about the link with the bin Laden family, Ashley replied: 'I think I'll start with people from Newcastle, not in some cave in Afghanistan.' The Saudi Binladin Group is run by Osama bin Laden's half-brother Bakr bin Laden, although the family distanced themselves from the Al-Qaeda founder some years ago. Ashley's comments came as his Sports Direct empire reported that profits for the year to April had halved after a drop in sales attributed in part to poor weather last summer and England's failure to qualify for the finals of Euro 2008.