Shepherd Stands Firm - But Hall Wants Out!

Last updated : 15 December 2006 By Footy Mad - Editor

... Freddy Shepherd insists he is standing firm and will not be bought out.

A newspaper report this morning claimed US hedge fund Polygon, which has held a long-term interest in the Magpies, had teamed up with the United Bank of Switzerland to launch a successful bid.

However, Newcastle issued a statement to the Stock Exchange: "The board wishes to clarify that it has not accepted any proposals for the company from any party nor is any due diligence being conducted on the company.

"Therefore there can be no certainty that an offer will be made, nor as to the terms on which any offer would be made.

"A further statement will be made as appropriate."

Polygon have been in the shadows recently as the Jersey-based Belgravia group have made noises suggesting they could be ready to make their long-awaited move.

Club shares closed at a year's high of 75.5 pence, and were still trading at 75p this morning, valuing the club at £99.83million.

It was also claimed that the prospective owners would take on debts of £87million and hand manager Glenn Roeder a £20million transfer kitty.

Freddy Shepherd is still the major shareholder and he has always insisted has no intention of selling his stake, even though the fans were calling for his head after the Sheffield United match.

But Sir John Hall, who controls a 28.8% stake with his son Douglas holding a further 13%, has been in talks with a series of parties in recent months with a view to selling up.

Shepherd has a holding amounting to almost 29%, just short of the point at which he would have to make an offer for the remaining shares.