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No quick sale for Magpies; Buy-out could take a month: No quick sale in sight for Magpies.

Byline: Luke Edwards

NEWCASTLE United are still waiting for the Profitable Group to prove they have the fund to buy the club from owner Mike Ashley.

It is understood Profitable, along with all the groups interested in buying Newcastle, will have until Tuesday evening to show they have the money needed to go through with any deal.

The Magpies hierarchy initially reacted scornfully to reports of the Singapore-based group's interest in launching a takeover, but were forced to take them seriously when they made contact with Seymour Pierce, the bank

Turn to Page 90 they put in charge of finding a buyer on their behalf. However, suspicion among club officials about their viability remains and Profitable were asked to immediately show they had the necessary financial backing to not only buy the club, but also to run it properly in the Championship.

The Journal understands that evidence has still not been provided as the takeover process continues to eat into manager-in-waiting Alan Shearer's pre-season planning time.

A United source said: "As far as we know the Profitable Group still haven't provided proof of funds and we are waiting for that. We are still talking to a number of different groups and the whole thing is ongoing." There have been claims that some of the interested parties, including one involving former chairman Freddie Shepherd, have already begun due diligence, but The Journal understands that is not the case. Although several consortia are continuing to talk to bankers at Seymour Pierce about making a possible bid, nobody has been given permission to look at the books ahead of finalising a takeover. The due diligence process is due to begin on Wednesday, with Ashley prepared to accept the first offer of pounds 100m which is cleared by Seymour Pierce. That means it will be at least another fortnight before any takeover can be completed, while it could take a month before the new owners are in full control at St James's Park. That will bring more frustration for Shearer, who knows the delay in his appointment as permanent manageris an increasingly costly one in terms of Newcastle being able to win promotion from the Championship at the first attempt. Although season-ticket renewal forms were sent out this week, the Magpies are in disarray. No plans have been made for preseason and Shearer has been unable to work on any transfer deals while he is stuck in limbo. The former Newcastle skipper had lined up a number of players to come in who would give the Magpies a chance of an immediate return to the top flight, but has been forced to put everything on hold as Ashley appears to be unwilling to appoint a manager while he looks to sell up. Shearer has not given up hope he will be able to take control before then, but he knows it is looking increasingly unlikely with the Ashley regime continuing to blame the banks in charge of restructuring the club's finances for the hold-up. Meanwhile, one person who will not be taking the club over is Rick Parkinson, who appears to have been behind a hoax e-mail from a public relations company claiming he wanted to buy the club with a group of North East businessmen. The Journal received the e-mail on Thursday, but dismissed it as a hoax straight away, only for other media organisations to fall for the wind-up, which claimed Mr Parkinson - who is believed to be from Sunderland - was a multimillionaire from Ponteland. As a result, the fake pounds 150m bid was widely reported in the national media on Friday before the truth was uncovered.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 13, 2009
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