Billionaire Malaysian media mogul Ananda Krishnan is the man reportedly behind RM460.6 million bid to buy English football club Newcastle United, according to The Sun newspaper in the United Kingdom.
The Sun reported that Ananda, who controls Maxis Communications, gaming group Tanjong plc, Measat and Astro, is closing in on the deal to end Mike Ashley’s nightmare two-year “Toon” reign.
An official announcement on the deal is expected next week.
The British tabloid said the deal represents loose change to the 71-year-old, who is Southeast Asia’s third richest man reportedly worth £4.5 billion. But as the deal has not been sealed, other consortia remain in the running to buy the crisis-hit club.
The Sun said that Ananda is the favourite. All major newspapers in the UK reported this morning that a Malaysian consortium had submitted an £80m bid to Ashley for control of Newcastle United yesterday. The Malaysians were shown round St James’ Park on Thursday.
Another consortium, from the United States, had been regarded as the favourite but when the Malaysians flew to London with Newcastle’s Managing Director Derek Llambias, that perception changed.
Ashley reportedly wants £100 million for the club but is expected to accept the lower offer.
Newcastle United will play its football in the Coca Cola Championship next season after being relegated from the English Premier League.
Former club captain and England legend Alan Shearer took over as interim manager in April but failed to steer the club from the drop. Ananda is said to favour the Shearer’s permanent appointment as manager.
The Malaysian tycoon was also reported to be ready to provide funds for the club’s transfer kitty in its bid to quickly rebound back to top-flight football.