Dubai may accept Liverpool partnership with Hicks

LONDON - The battle for control of Liverpool could be heading for resolution after a Dubai government-run fund said it would be prepared to accept a 49 percent stake in the English Premier League club.

By (Reuters)

Published: Sat 8 Mar 2008, 9:32 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:18 PM

Saturday’s Daily Telegraph reported that Dubai International Capital (DIC), who have made a 400 million pounds ($805.8 million) takeover offer for the Merseyside club, would consider sharing ownership with American co-owner Tom Hicks.

The newspaper said Hicks, who bought Liverpool for 219 million pounds with compatriot George Gillett a year ago, made the partnership proposal nine days ago in a 60-page shareholder agreement e-mailed to DIC’s lead negotiator Amanda Staveley.

Staveley, a senior partner at DIC’s advisers, private equity firm PCP Capital Partners, was quoted as saying on Friday:

“Subject to renegotiation of a partnership agreement and subject to the usual stringent minority shareholder protection rights we would be prepared to accept a 49 percent shareholding in Liverpool FC.

“We have decided that this arrangement provides the best possible solution to the situation and would be in the best interests of the club and their loyal fans.”

Under the terms of the deal, which the Telegraph said would be discussed by senior officials from both sides in Dubai next week, DIC would buy 49 percent of the shares from Gillett and Hicks would buy one percent giving him a 51 percent stake.

The newspaper said a source for Hicks had confirmed that he and DIC were prepared to work together but stressed that they were only one of a number of potential investors Hicks was talking to about buying out Gillett on those terms.

Raise funds

Sources familiar with the negotiations told Reuters on Thursday that Hicks was trying to raise funds to match DIC’s takeover offer and retain control of the club. Hicks wants to buy part or all of the 50 percent he does not own.

US billionaires Hicks, who also owns the Texas Rangers baseball team, and Gillett outbid DIC when they bought the club last year, but fell out with each other this season.

This followed public comments from Hicks about having held talks with German coach Juergen Klinsmann over the possibility of him replacing Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez.

DIC Chief Executive Sameer al-Ansari said earlier this week talks with Hicks and Gillett were stuck because one of the owners “was in dreamland” about valuations.

British newspapers, without citing a source for the information, have variously reported that DIC had offered Gillett between 170 and 200 million pounds for his 50 percent stake in the club.

Hicks said in January he had talked to DIC “once” about a 10-15 percent stake sale, but Dubai said at the time the valuation was too high.

Hicks, co-founder of buyout firm Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, also owns the Dallas Stars NHL franchise, while Gillett owns the Montreal Canadiens.

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