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Chinese businessman eyes Liverpool
Guangdong-born Kenny Huang is reportedly in talks to buy Premier League team's debt.
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2010 15:27 GMT
Heavily-indebted Liverpool was put up for sale in April[Reuters]

Chinese businessman Kenny Huang has offered to buy Liverpool's $374 million debt in an attempt to take control of the English Premier League club, according to media reports.

Huang was reported to be in talks with the Royal Bank of Scotland on Monday with the aim of taking full control of the club, which has been up for sale since April.

Guangdong-born Huang is well known in China for his interests in baseball and basketball, and last year bought a 15 per cent stake in NBA side Cleveland Cavaliers.

Huang reportedly turned down the chance to buy Liverpool in 2008 because he felt a valuation of $1bn was too high.

The current owners, Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett, bought the club in March 2007 in a deal worth $348m and refinanced with a $556m package from two banks the following year but it left the 18-time English champions heavily indebted.

Pre-tax losses

The pair have had a difficult tenure at Anfield, with supporters regularly protesting at the level of debt taken on by the club after the buy-out.

The club lost $23.5m before tax last season, a steep drop from a healthy profit the previous year.

Hicks and Gillett instructed Barclays Capital to find a buyer for the club in April and appointed British Airways chief Martin Broughton as chairman to oversee the sale.

If Huang does complete a takeover before the transfer window closes at the end of August, sources close to the tycoon have made it clear he is willing to putting significant funds into rebuilding manager Roy Hodgson's squad.

Hodgson said last month that he wanted the uncertainty over the club's future resolved as soon as possible to allow him to bring in players before the transfer window slams shut on August 31.

In addition, he will also turn his attention to finally getting Liverpool's new 60,000-seater stadium built in Stanley Park after three years of inertia.

Source:
Agencies
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