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#286158 - 23rd Jan 2009 2:26pm Liverpool 'in new takeover talks

Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks is in talks with Kuwait billionaire, Nasser Al-Kharafi over a possible takeover.

It is understood meetings have taken place in London between aides of the tycoon, who has an estimated £9bn fortune, and Hicks' representatives.

Hicks and his co-owner George Gillet are valuing the club at around £550m.

The American duo's reign has been dogged by controversy since their £218m takeover in February 2007 and it appears they are now willing to sell.

Reports suggest talks with Al-Kharafi initially took place as part of attempts to finance Liverpool's proposed new stadium in Stanley Park, but turned to a buy-out.

Liverpool's commercial director Ian Ayre and finance director Philip Nash have been in the Middle East to continue the discussions.

BBC Sport understands that even though the relationship between Hicks and Gillett has been troubled, they may be united in their desire to sell at the right price.

And reports on Merseyside on Friday suggested a prominent European businessman has also expressed an interest in Liverpool.

It has also been suggested that the Al-Kharafi family would take a 50% stake in the club with Hicks and Gillett then retaining 25% each - but Anfield sources suggest this is unlikely.

Liverpool's owners, however, are clearly on the look-out for new investors at the very least, even if Hicks stands by his intention of retaining a stake in the club.

The regime of Hicks and Gillett has become deeply unpopular among fans after early optimism, and the US tycoons have just been given an extra six months to repay a £350m loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia.

Manager Rafael Benitez had public differences with the owners, who admitted they met former Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann when doubts emerged over his future.

Hicks also demanded the resignation of chief executive Rick Parry last season after labelling his time in charge "a disaster".

And the pair's plans for a new stadium have also stalled after spiralling costs meant it would cost around £450m rather than the original estimate of £300m.

Benitez is currently locked in a contract wrangle with the Anfield hierarchy as he demands greater control over transfers at the club.

The Al-Kharafi family have made their fortune from a variety of enterprises, including construction, banking, engineering, telecommunications and fast food.

They were originally approached by Liverpool last year. The talks broke down but have now been revived, with Hicks - a supporter of Benitez amid the recent boardroom turmoil at Anfield - seemingly the driving force.


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#286560 - 25th Jan 2009 3:00am ARABS PULL OUT OF TAKEOVER [Re: ]

LIVERPOOL were reeling from a £1billion blow last night when the Kuwaiti consortium pulled OUT of negotiations to buy the club.

Anfield chiefs had been in talks with billionaire (above) but were stunned last night when the Arabs walked away.

It was a body blow to co-owner Tom Hicks, who had been at the forefront of bringing the Kuwaitis to the table.

He’d dispatched Liverpool finance director Phillip Nash, and his Dallas negotiating team of Roy Bailey and Casey Coffman to secure the deal in talks held in Kuwait and London with the world’s 48th richest man.

Al-Kharafi is reported to be worth as much as £11bn, but he called off talks over the price and due to Hicks’ demands.

Hicks valued the club at £600m, as much as £200m more than the Kuwaitis were prepared to pay. The new owners would also have had to stump up £400m for a new ground.The Texan also wanted to retain at least a 25 per cent share in the club.

That was a prospect rejected not only by the Kuwaitis, who insisted on full control at Anfield, but also by Kop co-owner George Gillett Jr.

Gillett Jr, who is in talks with FIVE rival bidders, made it clear he would not sell the club unless Hicks was run out of town too.

A source close to the Kuwaiti group said: “It is absolutely definite, there will be no bid from the Kharifi camp. Any interest is now over.”

The Anfield civil war is now in the midst of an explosive endgame, with the latest developments seriously undermining Hicks’ chances of staying at Liverpool.

After a period of relative calm, the co-owners are at loggerheads again, with both fully aware the clock is ticking and they must find investment before a summer refinancing deadline. Their uneasy truce was shattered when Gillett discovered Hicks had arranged private meetings with representatives of the al-Kharafi family.

Gillett, who owns 50 per cent of Liverpool, is prepared to sell 100 per cent of the club to the right bidder, but is adamant no deal will be agreed which keep Hicks at Anfield.

His message to all interested parties is simple: “I’ll go, but only if Hicks comes with me.”

Hicks is desperate to force his rival out first, and has been using his support of manager Rafa Benitez to promote his chances of survival.

On the back of the manager’s hardline stance on a new contract, Hicks is trading on what he perceives as Benitez’s popularity among Liverpool fans and Rafa’s distrust of Gillett and chief executive Rick Parry.

He’s offering himself to investors as the man who can convince Rafa to stay at the club.

But he can do nothing without Gillett’s agreement. And, thanks to the bitterness between the co-owners, the chances of a smooth Sale of Liverpool now appears remote.

The only scenario which can be ruled out is both Hicks and Gillett keeping a joint controlling interest in the club.

Of the five bidders still interested one is believed to be based in Dubai.

An Anfield source told Sport of the World: “George is frustrated because he’s happy to sell for the good of the club, but not if it means Tom keeps a stake. A deal can be done for 100 per cent ownership with one of the five interested parties currently in negotiations — if Tom agrees to sell too. The real obstacle is Tom’s unwillingness to walk away from the club. George is fearful Liverpool will make a big mistake if they allow Tom to remain in some form of management role.

“He appreciates the fans want them both out, and is saddened by how it’s gone over the last 18 months, but he doesn’t want things to be any worse by walking away and leaving Tom at the club.

“If George gets the impression the fans would really accept a situation where he goes and Tom stays, he may change his position but at the moment he is sure that’s not the case.”

Gillett also insists he is under no immediate pressure to sell his 50 per cent shareholding and will go out of his way to thwart a bid by Hicks to retain any stake in Anfield.

Yet again, Liverpool are left in a sorry mess behind the scenes during a pivotal point in their season.

The Kop will be in a rage that a campaign which was progressing so promisingly on the field is in danger of being completely overshadowed by fighting in the boardroom.

Last year, it was Hicks’ refusal to surrender total control to Dubai International Capital which contributed to the collapse of talks.

As now, Gillett was more willing to walk away from the club on the condition Hicks left with him.

Hicks and Gillett will attend next week’s Anfield clash with Chelsea. They will sit in the directors box — just yards from each other, but miles apart in their views of the club.

#286746 - 25th Jan 2009 8:11pm Re: ARABS PULL OUT OF TAKEOVER [Re: ]
Sanchez Offline

Wiki Veteran

Registered: 17th Dec 2003
Posts: 8019
Loc: my house
I wouldn't trust them [censored] anyway, horrible pricks to deal the buissness world. Liverpool were lucky there imo.

Edited by Mark (25th Jan 2009 11:53pm)
Uncertainty or not knowing causes depression, Im happy because I know I'm going to die one day!

#288848 - 2nd Feb 2009 3:44pm George Gillett: Why are Liverpool FC fans so angry [Re: Sanchez]

George Gillett: "Why are Liverpool FC fans so angry with me?"

LIVERPOOL FC co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks endured a torrid day on Merseyside as they ran the gauntlet of protesting fans.

The Americans were left in no doubt about the strength of feeling against them when supporters staged a demonstration at Anfield following the Reds’ 2-0 win over Chelsea.

Around 300 fans gathered outside the directors’ entrance, chanting for Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett to sell the club they bought from former owner David Moores two years ago this month.

The protest was entirely peaceful but noisy and the chants could be heard inside the stadium long after the final whistle had been blown on Liverpool’s victory.

Throughout the match, a group of fans in the paddock, right in front of where Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett were sitting in the directors box, displayed a banner which read “Thanks but no Yanks”.

Earlier in the day, members of the Spirit Of Shankly (SOS) fans’ group converged on the Crowne Plaza hotel at the Pier Head where Gillett was staying.

Mr Gillett, who had earlier declined an opportunity to be interviewed by the ECHO, was clearly unprepared for their arrival as a number of supporters got past hotel security to confront him.

But after quickly recovering his composure, the Colorado-based businessman agreed to speak with to SOS spokesman Jay McKenna in the hotel foyer.

The demonstrators were well-behaved and well-organised throughout, although police did arrive on the scene to ensure hotel guests could come and go unhindered.

Mr McKenna emerged from his impromptu meeting with Mr Gillett to inform those gathered outside of what he was just told.

Mr McKenna said: “I told him all the fans who were outside and thousands more were angry and upset at how he and Tom Hicks were running the club.

“He looked shocked and asked me why. I told him he knew why, because he met Spirit Of Shankly before the Manchester United game.

“I said ‘fans see it as you have made three promises and broken them’. So he asked me what they were.

“The first one was the debt on the football club. I told him his partner Tom Hicks promised it would not be like the Glazer takeover at Manchester United, and to fans that meant no debt on the club.

“He claimed to be unaware and asked what I meant. I told him they had bought the club and then placed the debt for buying the club onto the club.

“He claimed this was at the ‘request of the banks’ and they were in a ‘sound financial position’ with ‘revenue per pound or dollar in ratio to the debt’ better than at any other football club.

“When I asked about the extension to July, he claimed that was false and no-one else knew the true details because they were kept confidential.

“The second one was backing the manager and then not doing so. I said they said they would back the manager, so why had they approached Jurgen Klinsmann about the position of manager?

“He then went onto claim they had met with the manager, who told them he was to have discussions with ‘three other teams’ about joining them and they approached Klinsmann to have him in place to work as a ‘consultant at the club’ if Benitez left them.

“I asked why they had approached Klinsmann, because his pedigree was not one that immediately made fans sit up and take note.

“He claimed Klinsmann had a brilliant track record, and he had excellent marketing talent, having close links with those at Adidas, Nike and Reebok and the benefits of him being at Liverpool.

“I asked who the three clubs were, but he refused to answer.

“The third one was the stadium. I told Gillett the situation with the stadium angered fans, because Gillett himself had promised a spade in the ground in 60 days, and it still had not happened.

“He denied making this claim and said it was a ‘made-up quote by the media’and he would be interested to see such a quote.

“I asked why work on the stadium dragged on before they finally blamed the credit crunch for it not happening.

“He claimed they had spent £100m on the stadium so far and were still working with designers, architects and planners.

“I asked why they were spending the club’s money on this and he claimed it was coming from himself and Tom Hicks and not the club.

“I asked if the club’s accounts would show and support this when they are released, and he said yes. “Gillett then claimed all transfer fees to date had been met by himself and Tom.

“He said when they bought the club, they were told about the ‘Liverpool Way’.

#288854 - 2nd Feb 2009 3:56pm Re: George Gillett: Why are Liverpool FC fans so angry [Re: ]
Sanchez Offline

Wiki Veteran

Registered: 17th Dec 2003
Posts: 8019
Loc: my house
I belive its because they want the owner to at least hae an interest in their team, that they love and support ! and not just do it for a chance to make money, although it is all money orientated now.
Uncertainty or not knowing causes depression, Im happy because I know I'm going to die one day!


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