Liverpool are talking to a "small number" of takeover suitors and the board will still block any attempts by the current owners to refinance the club's debt ahead of next month's deadline, Christian Purslow, the managing director, said yesterday. While noting Liverpool are "not going bust" and will not enter bankruptcy protection, Purslow warned that the 18-time English champions can only "just about" afford to meet the bank payments to service their debts.
Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr, the American co-owners, put the club up for sale in April and they face an October deadline to repay the debt, which has grown from £237 million (Dh1.35 billion) since April to about £280m due to penalty charges. No formal offers have been received for the club, with Hicks seeking about £600m for the asset he jointly acquired with Gillett for £218.9m in a leveraged takeover in 2007.
Purslow is opposed to the owners refinancing the debt - as are fellow board members Martin Broughton, the chairman hired in April to oversee the sale process, and Ian Ayre, the commercial director. They rejected an earlier refinancing proposal by Hicks earlier this year. Purslow said Liverpool are not in danger of entering bankruptcy protection, which happened to Hicks's baseball team, the Texas Rangers, before being sold in August.
"We have cash, we are solvent. We have banking facilities which last beyond the end of next season, and we are heavily scrutinised by the Premier League," Purslow told the club's TV channel. "Liverpool Football Club is not going bust." Meanwhile, Dirk Kuyt, the club's Dutch forward, could return to action this weekend after making a faster-than-expected recovery from a shoulder injury suffered on international duty on September 7. He had been ruled out for four weeks.
* Associated Press