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Newcastle United takeover – Brilliant from Reuters as they look into credentials of BNG bidders

1 year ago

The Newcastle United takeover saga has taken on many tortuous and / or bizarre twists and turns.

For over a decade Mike Ashley has pretended that he was trying to sell NUFC.

Then the Saudi PIF led bid came along and for whatever reasons, were prepared to pay far more than the club / business is worth.

As you may have heard…that particular bid ran into problems with Premier League approval and appears now to be permanently parked unless something radical changes.

Into the void we were informed last weekend of a new Newcastle United takeover bid, this time with its roots in Singapore.

The Bellagraph Nova Group fronted by former Newcastle player Michael Chopra, with them claiming to be taking help and advice from Alan Shearer.

The three main players in this BNG bid said to be Terence Loh, Nelson Loh and Evangeline Shen.

The whole thing sounded very far-fetched and the thought that kept going through my head was the ‘Doh!’ cousins, rather than Loh.

Sure enough, Friday night has seen a brilliant piece from Reuters, who looked into the credentials of the BNG…

When looking into the company, Newcastle fans (unlike journalists) had instantly flagged up the hilarious and obviously photo shopped photos of the three BNG owners ‘with’ Barack Obama.

Reuters have now got BNG to admit they doctored the Obama photos  and they also admitted that in their various promotional materials claiming to show the credibility of the company: ‘some of the information in those materials was released prematurely or contained errors after Reuters found inconsistencies when speaking to firms and persons BN Group says it is involved with.’

Reuters managed to speak to Nereides Antonio Giamundo de Bourbon, head of investor relations, who spoke on behalf of three main players / owners of BNG.

Bourbon denied that the company had ‘deliberately’ made any false claims about certain aspects of its business.

BNG claims that it is now headquartered in Paris BUT Reuters could find no records of a company called Bellagraph Nova Group registered in France.

In addition, Reuters could not find any company by that name at the address it had been given as the BNG HQ (10 Place Vendome), one of their reporters visited the address and there is an office rental business operated by Regus in the building, with a receptionist saying BNG Group has used some office space there but its staff were not always present. Remember, this is a company that claims to have had a turnover of $12billion in 2019 and 23,000 employees worldwide.

BNG claims that financial technology firm Hydra X is part of its global empire but Hydra X denied this when Reuters asked them. Bourbon insisted to Reuters that Hydra X was owned by BNG and was in the process of ‘merging into the group’ and claimed that sharing further details would break non-disclosure agreements. Bourbon then giving out this classic line to explain so many discrepancies: ‘Sometimes the marketing moves faster than the process’…

Reuters say that ‘Shen declined to be interviewed for this story. The Loh cousins did not respond to requests for comment.’

BNG had claimed that Alan Shearer was helping and advising them, when contacted by Reuters, Alan Shearer’s management stated he is not involved in the takeover bid.

They tried to make contact with Michael Chopra but say that he did not respond to a request for comment.

BNG do indeed have an office in Singapore and Reuters visited it, they report that it is ‘on the top floor of a four storey building above a pet shop and an Indian restaurant’…

Appearances aren’t always everything but I think this Reuters report definitely ticks a lot of boxes for Newcastle United fans, in terms of being in line with what their immediate thoughts were.

The Reuters exclusive also embarrasses the media who cover Newcastle United day to day, why couldn’t they have delved into this BNG story further?

The same with the ludicrous Henry Maurisss bid claims from the media, these have gone on for months and months despite fans repeatedly pointing out that there is absolutely zero proof that Mauriss would have anything like the financial muscle to buy Newcastle United. The NUFC media time after time just recycling the same unsubstantiated claims about him being a credible bidder, rather than actually making the effort to properly look into his (what appear to be invisible) credentials.


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