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Hicks attempt to refinance Liverpool FC debt fails

Tue 21st Sep 2010 | Clubs Ownership

Liverpool Football Club’s owner, Tom Hicks attempt to hang onto the club was dealt a blow yesterday after the private equity firm Blackstone ended talks.

It’s understood that Hicks met Martin Broughton, the Liverpool chairman last week to discuss his plan to refinance the £237m owed to the Royal Bank of Scotland. His subsequent meeting with GSO Capital Partners, the debt restructuring arm of Blackstone, would have allowed a £280m refinancing deal allowing Hicks to pay down the loan and inject new equity into the club.

However, it’s understood that a number of Liverpool supporters’ group members had bombarded the Blackstone and GSO executives with emails over the weekend in their campaign against the club’s owners.

RBS have given Hicks and Gillett until October 6th to refinance the debt owed, but could yet "roll over" the debt to allow the board more time to find a buyer. But finding a route forward will be no easier if no credible bidders emerge. Despite speculation a number of interested parties, including Kenny Huang and Rhône Capital, have failed to back up their reported interest with a formal bid.

According to the Guardian newspaper, supporters' union Spirit of Shankly has called for two days of protest against the club's owners and the financial institutions which have lent them money.

"We would like as many supporters as possible to make their feelings known towards the owners during the Sunderland match, using banners, flags and songs," the group said. "Following the match, irrespective of the result, we intend to hold a sit-in protest. Regardless of where you sit, remain in the ground and make your views heard. Gather at the front of the stand you are in, with flags and banners, and make your voices heard.

"To build on the momentum of this protest and to increase pressure on the owners we are also proposing a day of action at the match against Blackpool," said the statement. "We will start this day with a mass march to show our anger towards the owners and those responsible for our current situation. It will also be an opportunity to show support for what we want to achieve – genuine supporter involvement in how Liverpool football club is run."



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