Business

Lim's new offer for Liverpool

BBC business editor Robert Peston on the Liverpool takeover

Here are the details of the new offer to acquire Liverpool FC, which will be announced in a few moments by the billionaire Singapore businessman, Peter Lim.

He is offering £320m in cash for the club and its liabilities, compared with the £300m offered by New England Sports Ventures - which was accepted last week by Liverpool's chairman, Martin Broughton.

But what may excite Liverpool's fans is that Mr Lim is also saying he'll provide £40m in cash to Liverpool's manager, Roy Hodgson, to purchase players during the January transfer window.

Liverpool's board will find it difficult to ignore Mr Lim's new offer, raising yet more uncertainty about the ultimate fate of Liverpool FC.

Update 1221: The bid battle for Liverpool FC has become slightly more complicated than three-dimensional chess, but I'll have a go at explaining the interplay of the offers on the table and the outcome of today's high court case.

If Royal Bank of Scotland wins the case - to the effect that the current US owners of Liverpool, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, had the right to change the members of the board under Liverpool's articles of association but were simultaneously in breach of their agreement with RBS - then in those circumstances a new board will be formed that will consist of the original members.

And as I understand it, in those circumstances the newly-constituted board - which would again include Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre - would be obliged under its fiduciary duties to consider Mr Lim's bid.

In which case, it would probably be obliged to accept his bid, pending the receipt of an improved offer from New England Sports Ventures.

However, if Liverpool's chairman, Martin Broughton, were to win on his argument - that Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett were acting beyond their powers in removing Mr Purslow and Mr Ayre - the old board would still be in place.

And if the old board were still in place, the agreement with New England Sports Ventures would hold. And Mr Lim would be out of the game.

Finally, if Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett were to successfully argue that they had the right to replace Mr Ayre and Mr Purslow with their appointees, Mack Hicks and Lori Kay McCutcheon, then all bets are off.

In those circumstances, Liverpool would probably be careering towards administration under UK insolvency procedures. And it would be up to Royal Bank of Scotland - rather than Mr Broughton - to decide whether to sell to Mr Lim or New England Sports Ventures.

Right now, Mr Lim's bid probably looks more attractive to RBS than the offer from New England Sports Ventures, because he is proposing to pay RBS and its US banking partner, Wachovia, up to £20m in penalty charges, compared with the £10m or so offered by his rival.

Mr Lim's revised improved £320m offer breaks down as follows: £200m to pay off the long-term debt provided by RBS and Wachovia (identical to what New England has offered); £20m to cover bank penalty fees; £60m in cash to pay off other bank debt and to provide working capital; and the assumption of £40m of other liabilities.

In addition, he would provide £40m for the purchase of new players.

For the avoidance of doubt, Mr Lim's new offer is identical to New England's in one respect: not a penny of his money would go to Mr Hicks or Mr Gillett, who continue to face the painful prospect of losing £140m. ‬‪

You can keep up with the latest from business editor Robert Peston by visiting his blog on the BBC News website.

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