Fact File: Prospective Newcastle owner Anil Ambani
We get the lowdown on the Magpies’ potential new saviour
Despite Newcastle insisting that giving up complete control of Newcastle United would not appeal to Mike Ashley, rumours are rife of a takeover by Mumbai-born businessman named Anil Ambani. Like most of the new school of Premier League owners, Ambani has no history in sport, but his links to the hugely expanding Indian market and reported willingness to sink £150m into the Toon could prove very fruitful.
Here’s what we know about Mr Ambani:
* According to Forbes magazine’s 2008 Billionaire list, Ambani is has a net worth of around $42bn (£21.5bn), making him the sixth richest man in the world, behind filthy rich folksfolks like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. That gives him nearly double the spending power of Roman Abramovich (worth a measly $12bn) and streets ahead of Mike Ashley (whose empire is worth a pitiful £1.4bn).
* In 2003 he beat Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar to become MTV’s Youth Icon of the Year. “Young people are the future of our nation and they give me the strength to carry forward the vision of my late father, Dhirubhai Ambani, of making India a successful and super reliant power house,” he gushed at the time.
* His aforementioned father founded conglomerate Reliance Industries back in 1966, when he didn’t have a pot to piss in. The firm’s main wedge comes from oil and petrol products, but they have also diversified into retail and textiles.
*Daddy passed away in 2002, leaving the company to Anil and brother Mukesh. They fell out in 2006, and the company was divided. The brothers share office space in the same Bombay building, but have built separate lifts so they do not run into each other.
* Warring brother Mukesh is even richer – he takes fifth place in the Forbes billionaire list with his $43bn (£21.8m) kitty.
* If Anil’s £230m-£260m bid for Newcastle is rejected, he supposedly intends to resurrect Leeds United from their League One ashes.
* Much like Mike Ashley, Ambani used to be a chubber – he was 115kg (18 stone) until his boardroom associates mocked him and he became a fitness freak. He neither drinks nor smokes, and has been dubbed the ‘Marathon man’ because he can be seen jogging the streets near his home home almost every day. He runs the Bombay Marathon every year.