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Two "very serious" bidders emerge for Newcastle

Keith Harris, the man tasked with finding a buyer for Newcastle United, has revealed that two ''very serious'' interested parties have emerged for the Premier League club.

Harris, chairman of investment bank Seymour Pierce, said that out of a number of expressions of interest, there were now clear front runners.

Speaking at the FT Sport Industry Summit in London, Harris said: "We have two very serious contenders to buy it."

While the former Football League chairman refused to identify the groups involved he did confirm that both are based outside the UK and expressed his belief that a sale would be concluded by the end of the year or by early in 2009.

''The truth of the matter is that the phone has rung several times, frequently because I have made the calls - but they have reacted to them. It is not easy doing anything in this world whether it's selling a football club or anything else, but it will come through,'' said Harris.

Harris also scoffed at the rumours surrounding the potential sale, adding: "We have had Nigerians that don't exist, and South Africans told by the media they were bidding''.

In the two months since owner Mike Ashley signalled his intention to sell the St James' Park club he has been forced to reduce his asking price by £150 million to £250 million because the prevailing financial climate.

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