Rival Suitors For England's Top Football Clubs

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The Independent Online
COMPANY

POSSIBLE

TARGET

OFFICIAL

COMMENT

WHAT'S THE GAIN?

Japanese Electronics

giant

French satellite

broadcaster

US advertising giant.

Television and hotels group

US media giant

The UK's largest cable operator

Television and newspaper owner

Television, film libraries, video reproduction

Newcastle United

Manchester United, Leeds United

Manchester United

Manchester United, Liverpool, Leeds United

Manchester United,

Tottenham Hotspur

Aston Villa

Tottenham Hotspur

Arsenal

"We never comment on speculation or rumour"

Not available

"We are not interested in commenting"

"We can't comment on market rumour"

Not available

"We would not comment on these matters"

"We have been approached by a number of clubs. They are all in far too early a stage for comment."

"We have discussed with Arsenal Football Club Plc ways in which our two companies could work together."

One of the sponsors of the Premier League.

Little else to commend a bid.

Controls rights to show Premier League matches overseas. Already owns Paris St Germain football team in France. Wants to stop Rupert Murdoch expanding into continental Europe.

Interpublic is expanding aggressively in sports promotion and sponsorship. Frank Lowe, a director of the group, is a Manchester United fan. However, it is hard to see what the company could do to improve Manchester United's marketing operation.

Looked at buying Man Utd several years ago and is shareholder - with BSkyB - in the club's cable TV channel. Needs programming to win subscribers for ONdigital, the digital television operator in which it has a 50 per cent stake.

Already uses its extensive sports interests, which include the Atlanta Braves, to push its cable television

subsidiaries. Vice-chairman Ted Turner, who founded TV news channel CNN, is keen to prevent Rupert

Murdoch from expanding his empire.

Could use its cable franchises, which include the Birmingham area, to screen pay-per-view matches. However, CWC is keen to upgrade its network and expand its customer base

before it moves into

supplying its own

programming.

United News, which is run by Lord Hollick, is part of the consortium whose pounds 80m bid for Spurs was rejected by Alan Sugar. It could screen games through SDN, the digital television operator in which United has a stake.

Carlton was beaten by BSkyB during the last bidding war for Premier League rights. Like Granada it needs programming to attract subscribers to ONdigital, its digital broadcasting joint venture.

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