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Nigerian consortium shows interest in Newcastle

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has appointed investment bank Seymour Pierce to handle the sale of his ailing club. The news comes on the same day that a consortium of wealthy Nigerians declared their plans to launch a takeover of the Magpies. The London-based bank has been drafted in as the billionaire attempts to offload the business he bought just 16 months, for £134.4million, following demonstrations by fans in the wake of manager Kevin Keegan's departure earlier this month.

A club statement said: "The board of Newcastle United can today confirm it has appointed the London-based investment bank Seymour Pierce to act on the potential sale of the club.

"All matters relating to the sale of the club, including inquiries from interested parties, should go through Seymour Pierce.

"The club will be making no further comment at this time."

According to reports in Africa, a Nigerian company has accrued £350million to launch a potential takeover and are bidding to secure the remaining funding which would improve their chances of a successful purchase.

Chief Executive Officer of NVA Management, Chris Nathaniel, whose company are handling the deal, wants to make Nigeria the first African country to own a Premier League club.

He told KickOffNigeria: ''All along 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 the club to the person, people or entrepreneurs who can meet the £400million selling price of the club.

''Right now I am happy to tell you that well meaning Nigerians have responded and the consortium of Nigerian entrepreneurs has so far contributed £350million 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 £400million.

''So what that means is that we need to raise another £50million or £100million to shut the door behind the other 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 too.''

NVA handle Rio Ferdinand's PR and commercial interests and also arranged the pre-World Cup friendly between England and Croatia at Old Trafford in 2006. They further name Premier League wingers Wayne Routledge and Julian Gray amongst their other clients.

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