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So who's buying Liverpool FC?

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David Bond | 19:46 UK time, Monday, 2 August 2010

The latest foreign suitor to take an interest in saving one of English football's most revered institutions is Kenny Huang, a former Wall Street broker who carries the distinction of being the first Chinese graduate to work on the New York Stock Exchange.
 
He is the head of Hong Kong-based investment company QSL Sports, which, according to its website, was founded to build on China's success in staging the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It is claimed QSL has the backing of one of the biggest sovereign wealth funds in the Far East while the website says the company's aim is "to expand China's sporting platform through enhancing professional athleticism among the youth and elevating the nation's direct involvement in the industry at an international level."

Liverpool photocollage at the Anfield Stadium shop
Any new owners of Liverpool will be buying in to a rich footballing history

The latest part of that mission, it now seems, is to be achieved by paying £325m to buy Liverpool Football Club.
 
As they awoke to the news of Huang's interest on Monday morning, Liverpool's long-suffering supporters may have thought that maybe, just maybe, this is the one.

But would anyone who has followed the Liverpool ownership saga closely over the last three-and-a-bit years dare predict that this is going to reach a straightforward conclusion?

It is understood Huang's bid is one of several - perhaps five or six - which were submitted last week to Liverpool's chairman Martin Broughton and Barclays Capital, who were appointed on 16 April to handle the sale of the club.

Although it seemed the process was drifting over the summer, Broughton and Barclays Capital are aiming to make a final decision on a preferred bidder by the end of next week - just before the start of the new Premier League season.

All of which poses the question of why Huang has gone public with his interest now. His advisers have been briefing that he is the only show in town but, while he is acknowledged as a serious candidate, the idea he is the only one in the race is strongly contradicted by representatives acting for Liverpool and Barclays Capital.

As ever, this situation is made complicated by the fact that there are so many parties involved.

There's Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who haven't seen eye to eye for years except in their desire to secure as big a profit as possible from the sale of the club.

Then there's Broughton and Barclays Capital, whose primary interest is in achieving not only the best price but also the most sustainable new owner of the club.

Royal Bank of Scotland, who are owed somewhere around £250m and who have deferred their loan to Hicks and Gillett until October, are also anxious to have their money back and are driving the sale. However, they are also anxious not to do anything in the current climate that would make our state-owned banks even more unpopular.

Finally, there's the club itself, represented by managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre. Their interest is in finding a buyer who will not only end the destabilising years of American ownership but find a way to fund a new stadium at Stanley Park and invest in a team which is out of the Champions League and in danger of losing its best players.

The biggest stumbling block to a swift deal at the moment is Hicks and Gillett. They paid £218m for the club in 2007 and, according to parties familiar with the sale process, invested a further £144m either as security on financing further loans, design and legal fees for the new stadium or on players and their salaries.

To break even on a sale the club would need to fetch a price of £362m. But given that most of the money they have invested in Liverpool has been from borrowings, it is debatable how much of that investment has come from their own funds. If Hicks and Gillett walk away with any profit, it will cause outrage among the club's supporters and opponents of debt-financed football takeovers who argue they have seriously damaged Liverpool.

But this explains why they are holding out for a bigger price than the £325m on the table from Huang. It also explains why a Syrian businessman, Yahya Kirdi, emerged on the business pages of a Sunday newspaper yesterday as a possible buyer. He is said to be close to Gillett's son and, while he has been confirmed as one of the five or six who lodged an interest last week, must be seen as a stalking horse to help drive up the price.

Given the series of possible investors who have been linked with buying into Liverpool in recent times - Dubai International Capital, the Rhone Group and the Al-Kharafi family from Kuwait to name just three -  it would be wise to treat the latest developments with a degree of caution.

But it does seem that this affair is finally reaching the end game.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    The PR company behind Kenny Huang has done an amazing job. Not only is news of the tycoon's Liverpool interest in almost every single newspaper, sports blog and social networking site, but the story has been written as if it's a done deal.

    Yet, Broughton tells us there could be five or even six deals on the table; while RBS deny there have been any talks with Huang and his fellow investors over the Liverpool sale.

    To me this is simply excellent PR based on sand and mirrors. And given the sum Huang has allegedly offered, it is extremely unlikely that two proud Texans, renown for their financial prowess, would walk away with no profit in the bag.

    This is more like 'Fervour on the Orient Express'. Where's the meat - or should I say Peking Duck?

  • Comment number 2.

    They expect new owners and a big money signing by Friday!

    I have a friend who works at the club shop and they normally have 4 to 5 employees working on a friday! however this friday they've called in all 15 employees!

    I hope the Chinese or DIC buy us as they seem to be the only serious ones capable of taking us forward and competing and who'll get the new stadium built!

  • Comment number 3.

    I also have serious doubts that there are 5 or 6 serious bids on the table! It seems like Texan Businessman tactics to hike the price up!
    Anyhow if it is all BS then RBS won't suffer fools gladly and will request for solid proof/validity of the bids.

    The sooner the better this is concluded so Roy has the money to get players in before the transfer window closes.

    Liverpool can be a serious candidate this year, but that's a big IF for the premier league!

    Wonder what Mascherano is thinking about now???

  • Comment number 4.

    Terrible business this, you love a club, for the best part of your life, then you find yourself waiting for some foreign business man to stump up some money. Hoping all the time that he will at least show the decency to further the club and supporters dreams, before he cashes it in for a healthy profit! Seems to be the way the game is played nowadays!

  • Comment number 5.

    As David says this the beginning of the end for Hicks and Gillett.

    Huang seems to be milking the moment through his excellent PR machine with all papers including the Guardian at one point claiming that a deal was just days away. He knows RBS are under pressure from the fans to sell soon plus they also want their investment back so its cute that he is focussing his guns on them.

    I think most Liverpool fans are not holding their breath about the outcome but secretly relieved that there is light at the end of the tunnel finally.

    The club needs stability and it seems in the wise statesman like figure of Roy Hodgson, we have found someone with the wisdom and calm head that the team needs at this moment of transition.

    In terms of who will be the new owner-I guess there will be some twists and turns yet.

    However I am in not doubt personally that the club will be sold next week-give the time due diligence takes, meeting the fit and proper owner ship test plus also the need to urgently invest in the squad.....this takes time. Hicks and Gillett will risk losing bidders and getting a lesser some of money if they drag this beyond the transfer window deadline.

    Plus there is still the rumour of Torres walking which can only be stopped with the promise of new investment.

    It all promises to be a fascinating prelude to the new season-one that will hopefully promises a new dawn for the club.

  • Comment number 6.

    Broughton can just make up a number as to how many offers he has received. I could phone him up with an offer. I seriously doubt there are six viable, serious offers on the table. It's like the car dealer who always has someone coming down later on to test drive the car you're interested in.

    Until something concrete materialises, this is all just media speculation and PR spin like post number 1 states.

  • Comment number 7.

    Looks like the north west of England will be the place to go to for the best players on the planet...Great News! Citeh & Pool not man u & the people's club! ha! ha! ha!

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    I would hope for two or three serious offers. I agree, the 'five or six' speculated are just numbers crafted from the air.

    Meanwhile, I find the present Torres media talk, if true, a little begrudging. Ok, you're not happy about the lack of Liverpool medals in your trophy cabinet; but get yourself 100% fit and able to play a majority of games through a season before you start your moaning.

    My personal view is sell Torres if Man City or Chelsea offer £50m+, and use that money to rebuild the team. Injury-prone players are more of a luxury than a necessity.

  • Comment number 10.

    So Darren, is this year Liverpools year then?

  • Comment number 11.

    it is quite humbling that Liverpool have come to this. waiting for someone to bid a price acceptable for all.
    i have said for a long time that i just want stability at the club. while i don't honestly want millions pumped at players, stability is clearing the debt and building a new stadium which at about 600 mil to do both means we need some big investment. stability would cost more than a new squad. get the club on a good financial foundation and work from there. stop the endless pantomime and circus tricks.
    Roy has come in a is doing a good job. 3 good "free transfers" and the youngsters putting in a couple of shifts. Pacheco and Shelvey have really caught my eye this summer and could be useful players. add Ayala, Spearing, Kelly, Darby, Amoo and Coady to name a few, we have some young players with some real promise.

    things are definitely more positive around the club and after a predicted summer or doom and clear outs, we seem to be keeping the majority of the players we want to keep. obviously Mash is an exception to that, but considering it could have been Torres and Stevie too, things aren't as bad as first feared.

    a long hard season coming up, but an interesting one anyway.

    p.s. i won't get excited about the new "King Kenny" just incase it doesn't happen, but at least we know things are going on behind the scenes.

  • Comment number 12.

    "Any new owners of Liverpool will be buying in to a rich footballing history"

    Just not much of a future...

    I hope it all gets sorted out, I'm not a lover of Liverpool but I do feel sorry for the fans - at least until they start trading off past glories to puff themselves up, then that sympathy departs pretty quickly.

  • Comment number 13.

    well Gunner it looks a lot Rosier for us than a Fabregas-less you!

  • Comment number 14.

    Liverpool's new owners should look towards a different location than the Anfield Stanley Park location. Maybe somewhere on the waterfront where better facilities and ease of access would warrant more income in the long term.

    Anfield is too rundown and isn't that easy to get to for visiting supporters and away fans.

    A state of the art stadium with facilities, hotel etc... on the waterfront would increase profits in the long term.

  • Comment number 15.

    Darren, it's going to be at least one more season until we are Fabregas-less so I wouldn't get too cheerful about that quite yet. You've just got to hope that the news of this possible takeover changes Torres' mind! Still, you've got yourselves a decent manager now, made a couple of good additions to your squad, and if this takeover does materialise then you will definitely be in a position to build on the good work Roy has done so far. Most of your problems last season seemed to be down to squad morale, tactics and lack of squad depth - all problems directly related to Rafa, so now that he is out of the way, I can see you regaining Champions League. I wouldn't get more optimistic than that though!

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Darren,

  • Comment number 19.

    Darren I cannot help but think that your info is from other forum websites as I have seen plenty written about the fact that there is more staff in this Friday at the club shop. However it's not Friday, but Thursday, and the reason for this???

    It's match day!!

  • Comment number 20.

    "softandfluffy wrote: I would hope for two or three serious offers. I agree, the 'five or six' speculated are just numbers crafted from the air."

    In my experience when people say "two or three" and "five or six" they are usually making things up.

    Bids have names on them. How many "envelopes" are in the inbox? - five? six? It can't be five or six. More likely two.

  • Comment number 21.

    @Darren - the Anfield area needs regeneration. The football club should be helping to lead this not running away. The football quarter idea looks like something which would be well worth pursuing and would benefit both clubs as well as help regenerate the local area and local economy.

    -----

    As for the sale, I'm not counting my chickens yet. Am focused solely on ensuring that Hicks and Gillett are forced out and ensuring that those who will be making this decision are under no illusions that any genuine bidder who demonstrates a viable and sane approach to running the club has to be the preferred option. Chinese, Martian, Scouse, whatever. The worst possible outcome would be for the club to limp into administration because Hicks and Gillett manage to dodge the bullet yet again. They need removing from the club.

    Going to be a long couple of weeks.

  • Comment number 22.

    Softandfluffy: If a bid of +£50m comes in for Torres it should be accepted. His goals per game ratio is outstanding but I can see him as a Michael Owen type player who, after a brilliant start, will never maintain such form or complete full seasons due to continuous niggling injuries. He certainly wasn't fully fit for the world cup where his pace over the first 10 yards(perhaps his most potent weapon) was clearly lacking.

    Jeremiah: David Moores did make a terrible decision when rejecting the DIC bid in favour of the cowboys but I feel that he may have been heavily influenced others within the club at the time. Whilst he maybe guilty of serious nievity, calling a life long club servant like Moores a racist is well below the belt.

    Darren: Building a new stadium "on the waterfront where better facilities and ease of access would warrant more income in the long term" is a completely valid argument but one of the main reasons the Stanley Park application was accepted was that it involved the regeneration of a run down area of the city that has watched on as the waterfront and city center has gobbled up all available capital investment. Despite the big business and foreign investment involved nowadays, football clubs should still have a role to play in supporting their local communities who have historically been the lifeblood of the club.

    As far as Roy is concerned, he seems to have done a decent job so far and speaks in a calm and dignified manner but I don't think he can (or has indeed attempted) to take any credit for the signing of Cole. Prior to his arrival, it seems to have been the work of Purslow with a little help from Gerrard and Carra at the world cup. Hopefully the whole mess will be resolved soon and Roy will be given some cash to spend so he can show us all what he is made of.

  • Comment number 23.

    I’m surprised that people are saying that Moores made a mistake not selling to DIC.

    In fact, he dodged a bullet there.

    Post 8 says: “This whole wretched business could have been avoided if David Moores had gone with the strongest bidder 5 years ago - DIC - instead of falling for the silver tongued promises of the Americans.”

    LARF

    Dubai is in more trouble than Hicks and Gillet are. Didn’t you read the reports? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8380105.stm

    The last people you want to be involved with now – investment wise – is Dubai.

  • Comment number 24.

    Any sale to anybody linked to either American however remotely simply stinks. They had the gall to compare LFC to something called weetabix, a nasty cereal that needs milk, and sugar to make it eatable. These Americans have no respect for traditions of institutions like LFC. Everybody has acknowledged the greed of Moore in selecting the American ahead of DIC. Admitedly hindsight is 20-20, but for God's sake the DIC people were fans of LFC, they had visited Anfield countless times, and had even attended european cup ties. It can therefore be argued that they would not compare LFC to weetabix. The Americans are unlikely to have heard of Bill Shankley, and I believe they may just about recognize Ian Rush if they bumped into him. Please let the next buyer be more than a weetabix salesman!

  • Comment number 25.

    Yes, Dubai is struggling at the moment and being bailed out by Abu Dhabi on many fronts but, at the time, the DIC bid was for up-front cash, not based on bank loans. If nothing else, this would have saved the club over £60m per year on interest repayments alone.

  • Comment number 26.

    @ Redlion post 24

    I’m not convinced that this idea of knowing the traditions of the club really holds up. Reminds me of people like Robbie Keane who was claiming to have grown up a Liverpool fan and it’s all a dream move. Soon after he’s joining Celtic and claiming to be a Celtic fan.

    Sure, there may have been one or two members of the Dubai ruling family that were Liverpool fans, but that doesn’t not mean they were the best people to sell to. Just because they claim to be fans and may know a bit about this history is probably not as vital as you suggest. Especially given the financial state Dubai is now in.

    Oh, and the name of our most famous manager ever is Shankly - not Shankley, as you wrote it.

  • Comment number 27.

    "Red's Chinese Takeaway" - Racist link? Racial stereotyping certainly. Ignorant, moronic and thoughtless

  • Comment number 28.

    Is it not Liverpools year every year?
    Much like every year is the year the Arsenal team will come good.

    The sad fact of the matter is as an Arsenal fan- I cannot see either Liverpool or Arsenal winning the league this season.
    The strength in depth is just not there.

    If Reina gets injured Liverpool have to call up a keeper from Brazil who nobody has ever heard of.
    When Torres gets injured (notice the WHEN and not IF) Liverpool have to call up N'Gog who IMO will never be good enough to hold down a first team place.

    Arsenal have the same problems.

    Chelsea, United, Citeh and dare I say Spurs have stronger squads than both Liverpool and Arsenal.

    By all means sell the club but wouldnt you rather it was sold to a FAN. Not someone from abroad who 'supports' Liverpool because they were succesful when they were young.

  • Comment number 29.

    @ FLETCH_DUBAI 26

    Totally agree. I think people get caught up too much on the owners being fans or 'one of the people'. Look at Franny Lee at Man City or that clown in Newcastle for example where it all goes wrong.

    The new owners are not expected to recite Liverpool's starting lineup from the 1977 European Cup or win a pub quiz on their history - they just need to be good businessmen who will pump vast amounts of (their own, not borrowed) money into the club and employ the right football people making the correct football decisions.

    I'm pretty sure Roman Abramovich didn't have a clue who Peter Osgood or Chopper Harris was when he bought Chelsea. Same for Man City's new owners. Does it matter or not if they grew up as Man City fans in the Middle East? Of course not. If Bill Gates or the Sultan of Brunei came knocking on Anfield's door with an empty cheque book the Liverpool fans would welcome them with open arms.

  • Comment number 30.

    On Radio Merseyside last night they stated that over the last few days in talking with the club there had been no bids, then Kenneth Huang's proposed takeover became public. BBC contacted Anfield and they were informed there had been 5 or 6 bids. Smoke and Mirrors by the Americans to up the Ante. Furthermore it was confirmed that Kenneth Huang has been talking directly with RBS. Despite Broughton saying the oard are in control of any purchase, they may well be whilst it is to the liking of RBS, but if RBS sell the loan to Huang, then Mr. Broughton (who has done very little, in my opinion, since being brought in by Laurel and Hardy)will not have much of a say in what goes on.

  • Comment number 31.

    @boknows34


    I would personally have someone who cares about my club.


    What will happen at Citeh when the arabs get bored?

    Abramovich at least is making Chelsea self sufficient.

    Live within your means. Thats my motto

  • Comment number 32.

    Kevin Huang has mounted a "megaphone" approach, calling for fans to get behind him. There is also a "fill or kill" aspect to it (i.e. accept soon or the bid will be withdrawn). All this underlines that this is a "low end" bid as far as the Americans' pockets are concerned. However it could be "high end" in terms of what fans want.. subsequent investment in the squad and a new stadium. Broughton must (a) secure written guarantees from Huang concerning investment going forward, and (b) allow about a week to be sure that the other bidders (who equally must guarantee future investment) won't top Huang's offer... then having done (a) and (b) he is surely obliged together with Purslow and Ayres promptly to accept the bid on a 3-2 vote of the board.

  • Comment number 33.

    It is funny how one of your house rules are: We reserve the right to fail messages which
    •Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable
    Yet you use such a stereotype title `Reds Chinese takeaway', such behaviour I expect from the SUN not the BBC.
    Standards are definitely slipping.

  • Comment number 34.

    Firstly the lack of any mention of any bids on the LFC website is indicative of the contempt the LFC board has for it's supporters Broughton is available for quotes to newspapers but not to the fans of the club.

    Secondly, The Huang deal is never going to happen Hicks and Gillette believe that the Liverpool brand is worth more than 300 million and will not sell at that price. Huang cannot gain anything by purchasing rhe debt from RBS so that's a non-starter.

    Personally, I feel the fans could put a lot more pressure on the board to sell Picketing the home game against Arsenal would be a start. I don't really see that anyone would want to support the board when the board has done nothing for them.

    I draw solace from the fact that these 5 jokers will soon depart from LFC but I'm angry that they've enriched thermselves at the expense of the club. They're just suits in it for the money.

    Whatever people say, football isn't really like other businesses. Gennerally, many of the players care deeply about their clubs. If it were just a business Gerrard would be on his way to Madrid for 30 million. It's more than just business and LFC is more than just a club. It is loved worldwide unlike any other club.

  • Comment number 35.

    Anyone thinking of "buying" this or any of the other debt laden clubs in the Premier League must be crackers. Even if you sold the entire Liverpool squad today, you would still not have enough money to pay back the money you currently owe. Furthermore, you would be no nearer the acquisition of a new stadium. As a business proposition, this is utterly laughable. The greatest shame in all of this is that the formation of the Premier League has brought about the demise of what the game is actually all about. It used to be about home grown talent desperate to play for their home town club. With most players now from abroad, I find it absurd that this club can now call itself Liverpool - how many players can lay claim to being native? You'll only need one hand to count them! Real football died a long time ago and it only remains now for the ultra wealthy businessmen to mop up those assets which still remain. This is a sad, sorry, tawdry mess which has resulted from sheer greed. You reap what you sow.....

  • Comment number 36.

    It seewms to me that Mr Huang will now set the mark for other bids. I also think that his offer is a "first offer" and that he will be prepared to increase it to beat the competition. It gives him a better than 50% chance of becoming the preferred bidder. Barcap will probably choose his and one other to explore in detail.

  • Comment number 37.

    35. At 10:08am on 03 Aug 2010, charlesburgessfry wrote:
    Anyone thinking of "buying" this or any of the other debt laden clubs in the Premier League must be crackers. Even if you sold the entire Liverpool squad today, you would still not have enough money to pay back the money you currently owe. Furthermore, you would be no nearer the acquisition of a new stadium. As a business proposition, this is utterly laughable. The greatest shame in all of this is that the formation of the Premier League has brought about the demise of what the game is actually all about. It used to be about home grown talent desperate to play for their home town club. With most players now from abroad, I find it absurd that this club can now call itself Liverpool - how many players can lay claim to being native? You'll only need one hand to count them! Real football died a long time ago and it only remains now for the ultra wealthy businessmen to mop up those assets which still remain. This is a sad, sorry, tawdry mess which has resulted from sheer greed. You reap what you sow.....

    ---------------------

    I guess that's life. Things change all the time in any walk of life.

    Just have to roll with the times.

  • Comment number 38.

    charleburgessfry fails to examine the Huang motivation closely. The intrinsic value of the club is not his primary interest. The body he represents is concerned to give China a universal presence in sport and will set its valuations by the degree to which acquiring a club with world-wide prestige will contribute to the achievement of this aim.

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    so liverpool will decide at the end of next week about which bid they want to pursue? thats ridiculous, why does it take two weeks to sort out which bid to pursue??! im not convinced that there are 5 or 6 genuine offers made to the club. And what happened to Huang saying he wants it sorted asap so he can give Hodgson transfer funds? If Liverpool say they will decide next week-end, which bid they will pursue, it will take atleast another week to finalise things which leave Liverpool with only a week left before the transfer window shuts?

    im getting nervous...

  • Comment number 41.

    #40 shaqz_inho

    I think you've answered your own question there to an extent.

    'why does it take two weeks to sort out which bid to pursue??! im not convinced that there are 5 or 6 genuine offers made to the club.'
    ------------------------------------------------------
    In the circumstances, all the interested parties will need to be convinced that the offers are genuine and that's why it may take two weeks to sort out.

    I am always surprised that the Man City takeover seemed to happen very quickly but perhaps that had been going on behind the scenes for longer than we all knew about.

    Basically, a proper job takes time. Look at what happened with Shinawatra at Man City and the mess that Ashley landed himself with at Newcastle. All because things were done without proper checks being made perhaps.

  • Comment number 42.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 43.

    To me I dont care who buys the club as long as they

    1. Dont fund the purchase with borrowed cash
    2. Their expected financial returns are long term
    3. They have sporting ambitions to improve Liverpool ground and squad
    4. They let the football management manage the football
    5. They are ethical

    If Moores and Parry had these rules we would have these present duo.

  • Comment number 44.

    Anyone thinking of "buying" this or any of the other debt laden clubs in the Premier League must be crackers. Even if you sold the entire Liverpool squad today, you would still not have enough money to pay back the money you currently owe. Furthermore, you would be no nearer the acquisition of a new stadium. As a business proposition, this is utterly laughable. The greatest shame in all of this is that the formation of the Premier League has brought about the demise of what the game is actually all about. It used to be about home grown talent desperate to play for their home town club. With most players now from abroad, I find it absurd that this club can now call itself Liverpool - how many players can lay claim to being native? You'll only need one hand to count them! Real football died a long time ago and it only remains now for the ultra wealthy businessmen to mop up those assets which still remain. This is a sad, sorry, tawdry mess which has resulted from sheer greed. You reap what you sow.....

    ---------------------------------------------------

    charlesburgessfry, I think you will find that there has been an influx of players from outside the "native" for many a year (well before the premier league). Look at the great Liverpool sides of the 70s and 80s, how mny of those players were Scousers? Also with Liverpool, you will find that they are only in debt because H+G didn't actually buy the club with their own money so when the debt is paid by new owners they will actually OWN a club with plenty of assests rather than the banks effectively owning the club as is now.

  • Comment number 45.

    Just for the sake of clarity, I think it is fair to say that buying a club by way of borrowings is surely ok. Even if those borrowings are secured against the value of the club. This is common business practice and indeed this is how we buy our homes with mortgages.

    The issue that is not looked at favourably is that the interest on the financing is being funded by the profits of the clubs (Man U and Liverpool) and this is where the difference between a football club and other businesses becomes apparent. Football clubs, as far as the fans are concerned, are not there to make a profit for anyone or anything other than for reinvestment into the club.

    If they want to fund the interest from outside sources then all would be well.

    The question for any prospective owner then is do you expect to make money from the club and if so at what point?

    Abramovich might expect to make money out of Chelsea but this will only ever be through the sale of the club at a higher price than he has paid for it (initial purchase price and subsequent investments.)

    If they in any way want to make money for themselves in anything like the short to medium term then they are probably not what you want.

  • Comment number 46.

    @Fletch_Dubai (#23)

    Totally agree that a bullet was dodged re DIC. Unfortunately, Dubai is all sweetness and light for most of those who have not lived there. For every Man City owner there is a (former) Portsmouth ownwer - avoid all bidders from middle east as they actually do have stacks more cash than they have sense (or reasoning, or loyalty, or compassion or anything else for that matter). I would suspect that the sheikhs interest in Man City will almost certainly dissappear after a few years leaving them in a potentially perilous position.

  • Comment number 47.

    Have to agree with several of the posts... As a LFC fan the LAST thing I want is for a fan to take over the club. What we need is someone who can make the right decisions for the long term future of the club without red tinted glasses which will ultimately mean we have a healthy balance sheet and a solid income for the next 20+ years.

    Sorry to be so mercenary about it and all this talk about football just being about money now versus the good old days when it was just about the fans is just nonsense, football clubs shouldn't just exist to lose money but keep the fans happy! Ideally you need a healthy balance between the finances and success on the pitch which is what any decent businessman should be able to provide us.

    Surely the ultimate aim is to have a football club that is completely self funding i.e. generates enough revenue from ticket sales, merchandising, tv money and winning trophies etc to offset the cost of running the club (wages etc) and buying players (which can be minimised with a decent youth set up). To get to that point we need someone with enough cash / vision to build a new stadium and market the club in the right way - I suspect there are not many of us fans out there that can do that!!

  • Comment number 48.

    Broughton is in charge technically, so doesn't he give the recommendation on who to sell to, while H&G sit on their backsides?

    This will benefit us tremendously. Broughton is a chelsea fan, but the fact that he openly admitted this to us actually shows that he is passionate about football, and won't try to ruin our club. Ergo, he won't sell to the billionaire with the most oil; he'll sell to whoever he feels could manage the football club correctly, and create long term profits. I hope, anyway.

  • Comment number 49.

    A few have speculated how Huang expects to make money from a deal when so much debt is involved. I would suspect that a few options will include building on Liverpools (already massive) popularity in China. Friendly games in China, one or two players joining the club etc etc. You only need to see the popularity of Man U in Korea which is largely (but not entriely) based upon the signing of Park and the recent tours of Asia. China is a substantialy larger country and given he is from China, has proven to be good at handling the media, such a takeover may prove to be very benficial to both parties.

  • Comment number 50.

    @45 MrBlueBurns: Totally agree with those comments.

    The fact is that big clubs are now, and probably forever will be, the target of big business.....now that there is so much money in the game and still big growth potential.

    The good news is that to get a return on investment the owners need to keep the club successful as success= trophies=money=higher profits=higher valauation=higher return on investment. This means having to invest in players, the stadium, marketing strategy etc. etc......all of which keeps the fans happy.

    This, by the way, was exactly the objective that H&G and the Glazers had in mind but they went with a highly leveraged model and ran into the GFC which derailed their plans.

    On another aspect, does anyone know whether the 'bidders' have already conducted due diligence or whether the bids are a first offer pending due diligence being completed?

    The latter seems more likely and in that event don't expect anything to happen quickly. If due diligence has yet to happen then there's no way that the club will be sold before the transfer deadline.

    Also, Huang's bid looks way too low to be acceptable to H&G so I suspect that there's some way to go with negotiations.

  • Comment number 51.

    @ 49. At 11:41am on 03 Aug 2010, Womble wrote:
    A few have speculated how Huang expects to make money from a deal when so much debt is involved.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Huang doesn't inherit the debt. He pays fair value for the club and H&G pay off 'their' debt before pocketing the profit, if any.

    There's a common misconception that a clubs valuation (buying price) includes how it is financed (debt). This is not the case. The previous owners have their names on the loans and have to pay them off with the proceeds.

    If the debt is on the balance sheet and is expected to be cleared by a new owner than the buy price would be reduced by the equivalent amount.

  • Comment number 52.

    #51 WordsofWisdom

    Another misconception is that clubs are in debt. This is not the case. CLubs HAVE debt but are not IN debt. Their assets are valued at greater than their liabilities.

  • Comment number 53.

    Royal Bank of Scotland, who are owed somewhere around £250m and who have deferred their loan to Hicks and Gillett until October, are also anxious to have their money back and are driving the sale. However, they are also anxious not to do anything in the current climate that would make our state-owned banks even more unpopular.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I would like that point clarified, unpopular with whom?
    Last I checked Liverpool fans did not make up the majority of tax payers in this country (must resist urge to joke!) so why on earth should how popular a move is be considered by a financial institution.

    RBS is 83% owned by the tax payers which means that Liverpool is sitting on £237m of tax payers money paying absolutely no interest on it. As long as it makes financial sense (if they allow deferred payment they stand a greater chance of getting all of their money back) then I have no problem with it however the second they don't do something because it would upset Liverpool fans is the second that I think RBS needs to be completely turned around by the largest shareholder (i.e. us).

  • Comment number 54.

    52. At 12:04pm on 03 Aug 2010, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    Another misconception is that clubs are in debt. This is not the case. CLubs HAVE debt but are not IN debt. Their assets are valued at greater than their liabilities.
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Spot on......and with that misconception most of the endless and misguided debates on the 'debt crisis' we have read over the past couple of years wander aimlessly into the wilderness...............

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    I'd be interested to find out from Man City fans and to some extent Chelsea how much more expensive or difficult it is to secure a ticket for matches after these rich foreign investors have bought into their beloved clubs? Have they been replaced on the terraces by overseas 'football tourists' just going for the odd-game like at Old Trafford?

    People have to remember propective owners inevitably come in claiming undying 'love' the club promising miracles just like Hicks and Gillette and whilst it's initially exciting it's only because they really know there's a long-term loyal fan base there to exploit. The supporters always end up with the bill in the end...just look at Pompey.

    Are City fans really happy that Yaya Toure has been promised a salary over £200k a week after the 50% tax rate comes in? Is it sustainable?

  • Comment number 57.

    It will be good for LFC if Huan bought the club. Marketing/merchandising will bring more revenue from china who is developing rapidly.Longterm view revenue will pay debt and strategy will be in place to take the club forward.I dont think there will be big signings but i'm failing to understand why mediocre players, lucas£6m,kyrgiokis£1m,ngog£4m,babel£10m,insua£5m not sold yet total£26m approx. ???and buy drenthe from real madrid £6m (left back),ven der vaart (attack)£15m and bellamy £3m!! if you selling mascherano to inter have cambiaso plus £15m. or spend it on lass diara at£10m. he'll be wasting money on poulson/dafour! squad for next season if spent wisely and astutely could be . Goal: reina, cavillieri Defence: johnson,kelly, carragher,agger,skrtel,wilson, DRENTHE,aurelio Midfield: rodrigeuz,gerrard,cole,VAN DER VART,CAMBIASSO, Strikers:kuyt BELLAMY torres and play pacheco, Hope hodgson gives him a chance upfront as he is quick and clever,I'm sure if he was at arsenal he'd be playing in the league already with the likes of ramsay,wilshire etc.

  • Comment number 58.

    QSL sports link is incorrect......leads to a golf company based in Cheshire.

  • Comment number 59.

    # 53 Richyburger

    I think you'll find the interest payment on the loan is about £40 million a year.

    I don't mind who own's the club as long as they run it in the interests of both LFC the business and LFC the team, realising the link between the two, and not in the interests of making a fast buck.

  • Comment number 60.

    Fromm BBC article "...Broughton and investment bank Barclays Capital, who are leading the sale, will elect a preferred bidder by the end of next week."

    I want to know, can Hicks/Gillet reject the 'preferred bidder', who exactly has the ultimate decision over the Liverpool sale? Thanks

  • Comment number 61.

    Great news!

    Liverpool striker Fernando Torres says he is "committed to the club and fans" and is "looking forward to working with new Reds manager Roy Hodgson".

    There had been speculation linking Torres, 26, with a move from Anfield ever since the club failed to qualify for this season's Champions League.

    "I am looking forward to the challenge ahead," Torres told the club's website.

    "My commitment and loyalty to the club and to the fans is the same as it was on my first day when I signed."

  • Comment number 62.

    In light of new owners coming in soon. A petition from all Liverpool supporters is needed to be formed in regards to a new stadium. I have heard the revised stadium size has been reduced to 60,000. This is too low! Anfield is already 45,000, with around 40,000 season ticket holders. It is said we could easily fill a 70,000 stadium every week in terms of ticket demand, so a stadium of 75-80,000 is not impractical. It would take only a few years to recoup cost with the extra gate. From then on Liverpool could become self sufficient. YNWA.

  • Comment number 63.

    # 60 Mwake. There are 5 people on the board who will vote on accepting any sale;- hicks, gillette, Purslow, Broughton and Ayres. If hicks and gillette are against it, they can still be outvoted 3 to 2.

  • Comment number 64.

    "It used to be about home grown talent desperate to play for their home town club. With most players now from abroad, I find it absurd that this club can now call itself Liverpool"

    The first team to call itself Liverpool was largely made up of Scotsmen. That's no less absurd. We didn't mind then and we don't mind now. Our current club captain and vice-captain both hail from Merseyside, which I'm sure is a first in my lifetime, if not in the history of the club.

    "RBS is 83% owned by the tax payers which means that Liverpool is sitting on £237m of tax payers money paying absolutely no interest on it."

    If only! The club are paying between £30-50m a year in interest (depending on which sources you believe), that's one of the main reasons Liverpool supporters want rid of the current owners.

  • Comment number 65.

    Any idea that Hicks and Gillette can be forced to sell the club by a 3-2 board vote is entirely erroneous.The BOD can recommend a bid be accepted but have no power to enforce a sale They are not the owners, nor are the bank

  • Comment number 66.

    dmrichkt

    Any idea that Hicks and Gillette can be forced to sell the club by a 3-2 board vote is entirely erroneous.The BOD can recommend a bid be accepted but have no power to enforce a sale They are not the owners, nor are the bank

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is like a mortgage; I am not the owner of my property until I have met the conditions of my mortgage, the bank hold the deeds. You are correct in as much as the bank cannot enforce a sale (technically) but they can foreclose on the loan which would in effect enforce a sale. They could also sell the debt on to KH who could renegotiate the terms of the loan and make it impossible for Hick and Gillette to carry on, thereby enforcing a sale. The bank have a huge say in what is done.

  • Comment number 67.

    Kirdi eyes Liverpool takeover
    (UKPA) – 18 minutes ago

    A rival consortium to Chinese entrepreneur Kenny Huang are claiming they are close to sealing a deal to buy Liverpool.

    Syrian businessman Yahya Kirdi, who represents a group of investors from the Middle East and Canada, has said a price has been agreed and a formal purchase agreement "is in the final stage of negotiation".

    However, much the same noises were made by Kirdi's representatives in April and no deal was done, and he has been dealing with the American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett rather through Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton, who has been detailed to sell the club.

    Under new rules on club ownership announced by the Premier League on Tuesday, all prospective owners are obliged to give the league 10 days' notice of a takeover and prove they have the funds to sustain the club.

    Liverpool and a number of parties contemplating a takeover - including Huang - have already contacted the Premier League to alert them that a change of ownership could be imminent.

    A statement from Kirdi said: "The group is in advanced negotiations with Thomas Hicks and George Gillett, co-owners of Liverpool Football Club, to purchase 100% of the club.

    "Agreement has been reached on all major terms including the purchase price, repayment of the existing bank debt from RBS and Wells Fargo and financing of a new stadium in Liverpool's Stanley Park. A formal purchase agreement between the parties is in the final stage of negotiation."

    Kirdi is a resident of Canada and a former Syria international who oversees investments in Europe and North America on behalf of his investor group, said the statement.

    "Liverpool is a massive football club with passionate and proud fans in Merseyside and in every part of the world," said Kirdi.

    "With additional money to improve the squad and financing in place to build the new stadium, LFC will be on a solid foundation to compete in the Premiership and in Europe for years to come."

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    this scares the beejezus out of me as the deal is being done directly with Hicks and Gillette, who, let's face it, are only out for what they can make and do not, nor ever have, hold the clubs best interest as a priority. Again another N. American entrepreneuer without substance.

  • Comment number 68.

    dmrichkt,

    Sorry, but your synopsis may be wrong.

    What has stopped Liverpool being sold before is all down to Tom Hicks. This deluded Texan even back in April was talking of a £600m to £800m sale price, which brought a great deal of mirth and laughter to potential bidders.

    The whole point of bringing in Broughton was to make sure that the club would be sold and, most importantly, override Hicks' delusional state of mind.

    Meanwhile, Gillett has been keen to sell Liverpool for several years, and only hopes to "get his money back". He realises it was a bad deal, done just before the banks went belly up and easy credit disappeared. Financial leveraging during this austere period, is a very bad business move; ask Manchester United and the Glazers.

    So, if the board vote 3-2, tough on Hicks. Although, I suspect it will be 4-1 with Hicks crying in the wind. The delusional Texan will have to lick his wounds and realise you can't win every-time. Ironically, good businessmen know when to take a loss and get out. Some deals go bad - that's life.

    http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-fc/liverpool-fc-news/2010/04/19/liverpool-fc-owner-tom-hicks-claims-he-will-sell-the-club-for-four-times-the-price-he-paid-100252-26269405/

  • Comment number 69.

    I would suggest Kirdi is being used by Hicks and Gillett as a stalking horse, in the hope Huang will up his price. A classic business move with little or no substance. Rather like an auction, when an under-bidder, who has no interest in the item, raises their hand, in the hope of pushing the price up.

    There is so much PR and media hype, at present, as potential bidders flex their muscles, I won't believe anything until an actual bid is sealed and delivered.

  • Comment number 70.

    Largely agree with you softandfluffy .... but fear it could be a spanner thrown into the works rather than a stalking horse... perhaps a bit of both... However Barcap are no mugs, so, trying to be optimistic, let's hope they and Broughton stay well focused and aren't easily blinded by smoke and mirrors!

  • Comment number 71.

    I Know the fans are fed up with Statler and Waldorf but the alternatives showing up don't sound a million miles better. A Syrian lining up an middle eastern consortium (remember Pompey ?) and a Chinese "billionaire" with good connections. I Know all the owners want to take all the millions and run away and count the money but our footballing heritage is being sold down the river.

  • Comment number 72.

    While unrealistic given the large amount of money required from the Liverpool fans during a recession; this surely is the best solution.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fan-owned_sports_teams

  • Comment number 73.

    I suspect that Broughton's "five or six bids" statement is false or at least exaggerated to try to bump up the offer from Huang.

    Part of me hopes that the yanks have to take £325M and make a loss. Plus, that might also mean that the new owners can put more money into transfers too.

    But at the end of the day, most of the potential owners are businessmen so their goal is to make money from owning the club as quickly as they can. Hopefully, whoever buys us will understand that you have to invest heavily in a football club, get successful on the pitch and the profit follows after that.

  • Comment number 74.

    If your a seasie Cecil you'll sell to the best owners possible and earn back the massive amounts of trust you have lost

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    come on, moderators - 25 minutes and counting...

  • Comment number 77.

    OK
    I'm outta here
    c u
    YNWA
    (you need writing assistance)
    ;-)

  • Comment number 78.

    I hope this saga continues all season. It would keep the blue half smiling!!

  • Comment number 79.

    Hi

    Hope Liverpol gets bought quickly..so the fans and club can go forward...

  • Comment number 80.

    So who's buying Liverpool FC?... And more to the point...

    Who cares?

  • Comment number 81.

    Come on Chineses Kenny...

    Over a billion people buying the Liverpool shirt! From personal experience, the Chinese already love Liverpool and this send our club into dizzying heights!

    Come on China!!

  • Comment number 82.

    Congratulations, David, on being the only media luvvie to actually do the research on Kirdi. Fans have known his name for a while as it crops up every time somebody starts talking about investing.

    Now we just need an in-depth analysis of DIDC's involvement in the Dubai debt crisis before some fans hand us over lock, stock and dressing room.

  • Comment number 83.

    So the Huang bid is over, as a Liverpool fan I have been unsure about him, he's made big claims but how many are true? Did he get that Chinese basketball player to the NBA as some have claimed? Did he really claim to own part of the New York Yankees as some claimed? He never did. One things for sure people in the UK know who he is now so we've furthered his aims without costing him a penny. I agree with David on the Kirdi bid it was a hoax aimed to drive the price up. However who owns Liverpool FC at the moment? Most still say the yanks but how can Martin Broughton, with his stellar record in the City say 'The owners cannot block the sale' at the press conference where Mr Hodgson was announced as Liverpool manager?. In essence I believe the yanks have been given the eviction notice to quit, Liverpool is in the process of being repossesed by the banks, most notably RBS. So what now that Mr Huang has gone? Well the process continues, the board announced it had recieved several bids, tht word several leads one to believe that there is more than the Kirdi and Huang bids. It should be remembered by Liverpool fans eerywhere that when Man City's owners came in they went and searched for a superstar in the short time they had, they got Robinho who can only be described as a massive letdown. Liverpool FC, need to remember that they sold to a higher bidder in 2007 and this has led to massive problems for the club, surely now the time is right not to panic, take our time consider each bid and it's merits and choose the best long term bid. This may well take a month or even two to sort out but surely the fact Mr Huang wasn't prepared to hang around for one more month says more about the weakness of his bid than the way the club is handling the sale. I'm afraid Mr Bond and his cohorts in the media have been played by Mr Huang

  • Comment number 84.

    Who's buting Liverpool ? The likely answer is "Nobody".
    As we had around 18 moths back with Newcastle, we will probably see all sorts of speculation, have a lot of talk about offers being tabled, and at the end of it all Gillet & Hicks will still own the club.

 

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