Date:Thursday June 8 2006
Takeover talks between Bob Murray and Niall Quinn's consortium have continued this week with progress said to be going well.
Chairman Bob Murray, vice chairman John Fickling, chief executive Peter Walker and director of marketing and communications Lesley Callaghan all flew to Dublin on Tuesday for further discussions with Quinn and his partners.
The private talks took place at the Great Southern Hotel near Dublin Airport. Both Murray and Fickling were pictured arriving there on the front page of yesterday's Sunderland Echo. Further discussions were due to take place on Wednesday evening at the Stadium of Light, with Murray travelling back to Wearside by helicopter.
Stock Exchange rules mean the club cannot comment on the progress or otherwise of the consortium's bid, although it is believed that the tone of the latest meeting was positive. The club did release a short statement through a spokesman,
'I can confirm discussions between the board and Niall Quinn are ongoing, but because of the takeover code we are unable to comment further.'
The Irish consortium has been involved in the process of due diligence for several weeks, and with no announcement of any progress having been made, fans had started to become anxious. However, news of these recent talks can only be a good sign. With players due to report back to pre-season on June 26, all parties would ideally like to have the situation sorted out before then.
And with shareholders given up to 21 days to decide whether to accept a bid, it is expected that Quinny and co will make a formal bid sooner rather than later.
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