June 10, 2009 / 5:33 AM / 10 years ago

Soccer-Singapore group refuses comment on Toon takeover report

SINGAPORE, June 10 (Reuters) - The investment group linked to a multi-million pound takeover of English club Newcastle United has refused to comment on reports of the bid which would turn the Championship (second division) side into a Barcelona-style trust.

“We are aware of the reports but we have no comment at the moment,” John Gaunt, Chief Executive Officer, Profitable Group, told Reuters when contacted at his Singapore headquarters on Wednesday.

The investment group had contacted advisor Seymour Pierce to conduct the sale, Britain’s Financial Times reported.

Former Liverpool and England midfielder Steve McMahon is on the board of Profitable, which told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle that it had spoken to Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and was putting together a plan.

Ashley officially put the recently relegated club up for sale on Monday for 100 million pounds ($160.9 million) [ID:nSP490692].

The Evening Chronicle reported on Tuesday it had seen the company’s initial blueprint for a takeover and that a source had outlined some of the groups plans including:

* Turning the club into a trust where fans have a major say

* Increasing St James’ Park capacity from 52,000 to 60,000

* Retaining Alan Shearer as manager

Profitable Group is the company behind Liverpool’s visit to Southeast Asia next month. The Premier League giants will play games in Bangkok and Singapore during the tour.

According to its website, the Profitable Group “exists to increase the wealth of its clients, its employees and its owners, through the provision of strategically selected investment opportunities”.

The group says its aim is “to be internationally recognised as a premier provider of strategic global investment and a responsible and ethical builder of wealth”.

McMahon is not the only soccer connection the investment group boasts.

Former Celtic, Liverpool and Scotland striker Kenny Dalglish is listed as UK Operations Advisor while ex-Birmingham City player Paul Masefield is listed as a Sponsorship Manager. (Editing by John O’Brien; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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