Is Reliance's Anil Ambani After Newcastle United?

A British tabloid reports India's second-richest man is willing to outspend any rivals for the team

Anil Ambani may soon be wearing the black and white Newcastle United jersey. Reliance Communications is in talks to take over the Premier League club from UK billionnaire Mike Ashley for an estimated £260 million ($514 million ), a British newspaper report said.

But Mr Ambani is facing competition from Singapore-based global investment company Profitable Group, which has former England footballer Steve McMahon as a director , News of the World reported on Sunday.

"Both Reliance and Profitable are ready to pay £260 million to own the Magpies outright and are determined to spend more than £100 million on transfers to bolster the team, managed by Kevin Keegan," it said.

Mr Ashleywho bought Newcastle in July 2007 for £130 million and immediately pumped in another £80 million to wipe out debtwas not able to offer the kind of money required to sign top players so as to make a serious bid for the English Premier League (EPL) title. "He has made it clear he will not sanction the kind of huge signings which might help challenge for a Champions League place (that takes a top four finish in EPL)," the report said.

According to the Sunday tabloid, Mr Ambani has been in negotiations with Mr Ashley for several weeks, and has made it perfectly clear he will rival Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in the spending stakes. And, it added, India's second richest man—who has a personal fortune of £21 billion against Mr Abramovich's £11 billion—is willing to sanction £150 million for players as per his inner circle, it said.

TOON ARMY

Newcastle United was founded in 1892 after the merger of two local clubs, Newcastle East End & Newcastle West End.

They have won First Division Championship four times and the FA Cup six times, though their last league success was in 1927.

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