Saturday, July 04, 2009


Revealed: Man who wants Toon

Published: Today

A RECLUSIVE Malaysian billionaire has jumped to the head of the queue to buy Newcastle.

Media mogul Ananda Krishnan is closing in on a deal to end Mike Ashley's nightmare two-year Toon reign - and hopes to make an announcement early next week.

The £95million deal for the club represents loose change to the 71-year-old, who is South East Asia's third-richest man worth £4.5billion.

Other consortia remain in the running to buy the crisis club.

But after making the first significant move in the drawn-out sale, Krishnan is the favourite to take control after meeting Ashley's drastically-reduced asking price - almost £40m less than the sportswear tycoon paid in 2007.

The owner-in-waiting is believed to favour Alan Shearer to be the club's manager.

Like Ashley, Krishnan has kept a low profile as he has built up a powerful business portfolio which includes major interests in oil, entertainment, telecoms and shipping.

Over the years, he has donated millions of pounds to charities and a source said: "Mr Krishnan shuns public exposure and likes to keep a low profile for someone of his stature."

Figures have yet to be confirmed but a significant kitty would be made available for Shearer to use in the transfer market.