Cable TV operator NTL has agreed to purchase a #10 million stake in Newcastle United football club and is considering a much larger investment.
NTL said the deal would result in greater television coverage of Newcastle's football matches, although ironically Newcastle is one area where NTL does not have a cable TV franchise.
One of the UK's largest cable operators, NTL will buy nine million shares at 111.7 pence per share, representing a 6.3 per cent stake.
NTL is also considering a further investment, to take its stake to 58 per cent, but must wait for the outcome of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's investigation into BskyB's proposed acquisition of Manchester United.
While rival operator Telewest has a cable TV operation in Newcastle, NTL has nothing there. "We don't see this as being a particular problem," said an NTL spokesperson.
Newcastle United has a strong brand and fan base outside Newcastle, he added: "We're looking to open up the opportunity for people to watch Newcastle in action."
Details of how NTL's investment would affect the club's television coverage are not clear.
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