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NTL scores stake in soccer club

Brit cabler to provide Aston Villa with interest-free loan

LONDON — Cabler NTL will take a 9.99% stake in the soccer club Aston Villa as part of a wider alliance between the two companies.

NTL subsid Premium TV will act as the agent for Aston Villa’s media rights and run any TV channel or Internet venture launched by the club.

The cabler will provide Aston Villa with an interest-free loan of £26 million ($41.6 million), which will be converted into the 9.99% stake after five years.

The deal is the latest in a recent flurry of linkups between TV companies and English soccer clubs. Satcaster BSkyB has led the way by taking 9.9% stakes in a half dozen teams, while NTL had already bought into Newcastle United.

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