Liverpool Football Club look set to have new American owners
Wed 6th Oct 2010 | Clubs Ownership
The Merseyside club look set to be taken over by the New England Sports Ventures (NESV), who own a number of sport franchises including the Boston Red Sox.
The deal however, is subject to the resolution of a legal dispute with US owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett who feel the club is being undervalued.
The BBC reported earlier that Hicks and Gillett tried to sack managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre in a last-ditch bid to keep control of the club.
In an apprent attempt to block any sale and regain control of the crisis-hit club, the owners tried to replace Purslow and Ayre with Hicks's son, Mack Hicks, and Lori Kay McCutcheon, a vice president at Hicks Holdings.
Hicks and Gillett are understood to have argued that the club's English directors were not acting in the best interests of Liverpool and that the NESV bid - as well another undisclosed offer from Asia - "dramatically undervalued the club".
In a statement on the club’s website, Chairman Martin Broughton said; "I am delighted that we have been able to successfully conclude the sale process which has been thorough and extensive. The Board decided to accept NESV's proposal on the basis that it best met the criteria we set out originally for a suitable new owner. NESV's philosophy is all about winning and they have fully demonstrated that at Red Sox.
"We've met them in Boston, London and Liverpool over several weeks and I am immensely impressed with what they have achieved and with their vision for Liverpool Football Club.
"By removing the burden of acquisition debt, this offer allows us to focus on investment in the team. I am only disappointed that the owners have tried everything to prevent the deal from happening and that we need to go through legal proceedings in order to complete the sale."
NESV are thought to be offering about £300m for the club, enough to pay back the £240m of loans and £40m of fees owed to Royal Bank of Scotland, which must be settled at the end of next week.
However, this valuation falls well short of the £600m that Hicks and Gillett are thought to want for the club, hence their opposition.
Liverpool were put up for sale by Hicks and Gillett in April with debts of £351.4m.
They initially sought an asking price of about £800m, a figure they subsequently dropped to £600m.
NESV currently owns a portfolio of companies including the Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Network, Fenway Sports Group and Rousch Fenway Racing.
They are partly owned by futures and foreign exchange trading advisor John W. Henry who has an estimated fortune of £540m.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has set a deadline of 15 October for that debt to be repaid or a penalty fee of £60m will be due.
The bank has the option of extending the deadline once again, or calling it in, taking control and then selling the club to the highest bidder.
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