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Last Updated: Monday, 15 September, 2003, 06:27 GMT 07:27 UK
Man Utd dismiss takeover talk
Sir Alex Ferguson with the Premiership trophy
Manchester United are the world's richest club
Manchester United have played down newspaper reports that they are the subject of a possible 600m takeover.

The Observer newspaper claims three overseas billionaires are each poised to launch a bid to buy the Premiership champions.

But on Sunday United spokesman Patrick Harveson told BBC Sport: "We have had no approaches and the story is pure speculation."

Then on Monday the Premiership champions issued a statement to the Stock Exchange confirming there had been "no approaches from any parties" regarding a takeover.

"The board of Manchester United PLC notes weekend press reports about potential bidders for the company," the statement read.

"The board wishes to make it clear that it has had no approaches from any parties and therefore regards the reports as pure speculation."

Reports of big money takeovers of Premiership clubs have increased since Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in July.

Since then Aston Villa have been the subject of takeover talks with a billionaire from Venezuela.

The Observer claims the trio of interested parties in United have each sought advice about how much it would cost to buy the Old Trafford club.

The paper does not name any of the three interested parties, but says they are all said to be 'around as rich if not richer than' Abramovich.

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