The name of Anil Ambani had many Toon fans including myself reaching for the computer to search google and wikipedia about the man. Either would have told you he is the sixth richest man in the world with a fortune of 21 billion.
It may have also told you that the Indian is currently linked with a takeover of Newcastle United.
As I always say when reports of takeovers involving Newcastle surface, "I'll believe it when I see it." Yet this particular one has my pulse running slightly higher than normal. An Indian billionaire with a fortune TWICE that of Roman Abramovich and THRITY times that of current miser/owner Mike Ashley.
So if I am to believe the speculation, and I so desperately want to, Ambani is facing competition from Singapore-based global investment company Profitable Group. The price apparently set by Ashley is £260 million and that is well within the means of both supposed bidders.
Ashley doesn't want to sell outright as indicated in interviews he gave last month, he wants partners in funding Newcastle's future. Yet both buyers, particularly Ambani, want sole ownership of the club.
Yet I'm not too bothered because Ambani is usually someone with a plan and strives to achieve the best in every field he can.
So its unlikely he'll wear the jersey on matchdays, its unlikely he'll buy us pints after the games or stand with us at away games. But what billionaire Anil Ambani will do is turn Newcastle into a club that can finally mount the kind of challenge at the top of the Premier League the most devoted fans in the country have dreamed about.
Apparently Ambani has been in negotiations with Ashley for several weeks and has made his intentions clear. He will rival Roman Abramovich in the spending stakes.
A figure of around £150m has been discussed in Ambani’s inner circle with the telecoms magnate only too happy to sanction such a sum for players.
The man and his ideas would be welcomed by all on Tyneside. RCom are comfortable discussing their plans to not only book a permanent place in the Champions League but also a Toon invasion of India.
It is the last great untapped audience for English football and Ambani’s advisers have seen the massive potential of an exclusive stake in a market numbering billions.
RCom already have a major stake in India’s entertainment market, and also own power plants and financial services companies.
While Profitable Group will still have a major say in any Toon takeover, RCom’s bid is further down the line.
There is a widespread belief from those closest to the potential deal that papers drawn up by Ambani’s legal team could even be lodged with Ashley’s lawyers by next week.
That would open the door for RCom to proceed with due diligence—and be a concrete step towards buying out Buckinghamshire-born Ashley.
Like Abramovich at Chelsea, the financial muscle of the Indians is astonishing with a money-no-object attitude they bring to all their businesses.
There is still some way to go before any deal is struck but even the ultra-conservative RCom delegation are said to be hugely excited by the prospect of taking control.
Forget their excitement if this deal goes through then the entire of Tyneside will be rocking and who knows in ten years perhaps the glory hunters who currently idolise the Top Four might have attached themselves to St James Park.