US duo plan to take over Liverpool

Hicks and Gillett set to go halves on a Liverpool FC that won't be "bullied".

    Hicks, left, and Gillett are rival sports clubs owners combining to purchase Liverpool [AP/GALLO/GETTY]

    Rival deal


    The proposed deal from Hicks and Gillett is believed to be the first time two owners of rival sports clubs in one league have combined to purchase a franchise in another league.


    DIC said it regretted having to end negotiations, having proposed to pay around $300 million to buy out the current Liverpool shareholders.


    The group planned to take over around $150 million in debt and finance the construction of a new 60,000-seat stadium in time for the 2009/10 season.


    External link

    "The overriding message is: Don't worry"

    Rick Parry, Liverpool FC chief executive

    Statement by Rick Parry on

    The deal looked set to be concluded smoothly until Tuesday evening, when the Liverpool board unexpectedly asked for more time to consider a rival bid by Gillett.


    Bully tactics


    DIC's planned takeover of Liverpool collapsed because the board was not prepared to accept "bullying", Parry said.


    The move worries some Liverpool fans who were convinced the Dubai bid would bring in new owners with a respect for the club's traditions but feel the same can't said for the Gillett bid.


    But Parry used an interview with local newspaper the Liverpool Echo on Thursday to insist that Gillett's initial offer deserved serious consideration.


    "The overriding message is: Don't worry," Parry said.


    "Whatever decision is finally taken will be done so in the best interests of Liverpool Football Club."


    David Moores, the club chairman, who owns 51 per cent of the club, asked DIC for more time to mull over his decision.


    "The DIC response to this was to give the club 12 hours to make a decision, but the chairman was not prepared to have Liverpool Football Club bullied like that," Parry said.


    Rick Parry, left, and David Moores have had
    many offers for the club [GALLO/GETTY]

    "This is not a question of going for the second choice," he added.


    "David has always given George Gillett serious consideration while at the same time we didn't want to rush into any decision, and we were aware DIC might walk away."


    Home comfort


    Some fans have worried about the foreign source of investment into the club. Gillett's business empire collapsed in 1992 with debts of $1 billion and a personal bankruptcy of almost $70 million according to some sources.


    But Liverpool fans may be comforted to know that half the finance behind the Hicks-Gillett proposed takeover owns household names on their table such as Branston Pickle, Crosse & Blackwell, Rowntree's Jelly and Sarson's Vinegar.


    Hicks, founded the company Hicks Muse, now known as HM Capital, which bought the well-known brands, familiar to many Liverpudlians.


    The 60-year-old paid $250 million for the Texas Rangers when he bought the American League club in 1998, who were once owned by George Bush, the US president.


    If the bid is accepted, Hicks and Gillett would become the third and fourth US owners of a Premiership team.


    Malcolm Glazer, owner of American football's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, purchased Manchester United while Randy Lerner, owner of American football's Cleveland Browns, bought Aston Villa last year.


    Mascherano delay



    Mascherano has been forced
    to wait [GALLO/GETTY]

    Benitez, the Liverpool manager, admitted he had been surprised by DIC's withdrawal from the takeover talks, but said he trusted Parry's judgement.


    "I have spoken to Rick Parry and he says he feels this could be better, really good for the club.


    "But I prefer to leave them to decide while I concentrate on the derby against Everton on Saturday."


    Liverpool are due to play local rivals Everton on Saturday, in an attempt to revenge the 3 – 0 defeat away last year.


    The Reds are still waiting on a decision by the English Football Association on whether they can complete the loan signing of Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano from West Ham.


    World governing body FIFA has cleared the move, the five-time European champion is still waiting for agreement from the Premier League.


    The Reds are currently in third place in the Premiership, trailing Manchester United and Chelsea.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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