Renewed rumours link Middle East to Liverpool
Middle East consortiums are again being linked as favourites to buy the English Premier League football club Liverpool, according to informed sources close to the club. The Merseyside team drew 1-1 with its city rival Everton in the FA Cup last night. The club seems to be up for sale again as current joint owners, the Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett, need to pay off a £350million (Dh1.77bn) loan with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in July and are desperate for investment or, more probably, to sell. They value the club at about £550m.
Those in a position to buy may wait until nearer the July deadline, hoping for a drop in the asking price. Dubai International Capital was in long but unsuccessful negotiations to buy the club last summer. Officials engaged by Hicks and Gillett are believed to be in the Middle East talking to interested parties. Kuwait's al Kharafi family was reported by the British press to be interested in the club last week, although the family has denied any negotiations took place.
The Press Association quoted what it described as an informed source in the Gulf as saying: "Surely in the current climate, and with time running out on the Americans who must repay or refinance their loan in July, nobody is going to buy Liverpool at this present time. "The price drops with every passing day and any prospective buyer would now wait until the summer before making a move. By then, the Americans would have to accept a much lower price - around £400m or lower." The source added: "With the [British] government now with majority control of RBS, it would seem unlikely that Liverpool would be allowed a huge new loan while other businesses around the country are not."
* With agencies
Published: January 26, 2009 04:00 AM