Imerman rules out Newcastle bid

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The Independent Online

South African businessman Vivian Imerman insisted he has no interest in buying a stake in Newcastle.

The former owner of Del Monte, who has since invested in Scottish whisky producer Whyte and Mackay, denied he was part of a consortium which is interested in taking over at St James' Park earlier this week.

However, that has done little to stem the speculation, and he today moved again to distance himself and his company Vasari, from the ongoing situation on Tyneside once and for all.

A spokesman said: "Vivian Imerman can re-confirm that he has no involvement whatsoever with any proposed purchase of Newcastle United nor any other football club.

"Neither Vivian Imerman nor Vasari the investment company Vivian heads, has any interest in investing in football clubs."

Imerman's statement came amid reports that a South African consortium has tabled a £300m bid for the club, which was put up for sale by owner Mike Ashley almost three weeks ago.

The billionaire decided to cut his losses at St James' after fans staged angry protests again him and executive director (football) Dennis Wise in the wake of Kevin Keegan's resignation as manager.

As many as eight consortia have registered their interest with investment bankers Seymour Pierce, who have been appointed by Ashley to handle the sale.

Joe Kinnear has been installed as interim manager until the end of next month, by which point the club's hierarchy hope a deal will have been struck.

However, Kinnear, who yesterday launched an angry broadside at sections of the written press, hinted yesterday that he could remain in charge a little longer if the process is extended beyond the initial time-scale.

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