Hicks ends talks over Liverpool stake buy

DUBAI -US tycoon and Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks terminated talks with a Dubai consortium over acquiring a minority stake in the Premier League club.

By Issac John (Deputy Business Editor)

Published: Wed 12 Mar 2008, 8:33 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:19 PM

His decision came hours after Dubai International Capital (DIC), the $13 billion investment company of Dubai Government, said its negotiations were in advanced stages with the other co-owner George Gillett Jr.

"Based on a meeting held earlier in Dubai between my representatives and officials of DIC, as well as other recent contacts between us and them, I have decided to terminate any further discussions with DIC regarding their possible purchase of a minority stake in Kop and, in turn, in the club," Hicks said in a statement. Kop is the holding company set up by Hicks and fellow US. co-owner George Gillett -owner of the NHL's Canadiens.

"DIC made it clear that if they invested in the club they would want it to be managed by committee," Hicks added. "It is clear to me such a committee approach would not be in the best interest of Kop, the club or the club's loyal and passionate supporters."

Hicks' uncompromising stance comes amid protests staged by Liverpool fans who had been chanting against the Americans and raising banners in favour of DIC. Liverpool supporters have welcomed DIC's financial muscle after concerns about club debt during the Americans' year at the helm.

However, sources familiar with the negotiations said despite Hicks insistence that he had halted any further talks over a disagreement about who would run the club, negotiations are expected to continue over the next few days.

Hicks, who owns the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars, can block Gillett from selling because of a pre-emption agreement that says one partner can't sell his stake without the other's approval. The duo's relationship has broken down since they bought Liverpool for $431 million in March 2007.

DIC Chief Executive Sameer Al Ansari said last week talks with Hicks and Gillett were stuck because one of the owners "was in dreamland" about valuations.

DIC, which was outbid by Hicks and Gillett when the Moores family sold the club, offered £400 million for the club, almost doubling the £219 million that the two US tycoons paid one year ago.

DIC reiterated on Monday that takeover talks had reached an "advanced" stage but a price and shareholding details still had to be thrashed out.

DIC, which initially wanted a controlling stake, agreed to buy 49 per cent from Gillett, leaving Hicks with 51 per cent. However, DIC insisted they wanted to be included in the running of Liverpool, a condition not agreeable to Hicks.

Meanwhile, Rabih Khoury, chief executive of emerging markets at DIC, is understood to be leaving the company. Agencies reported that the possible departure of Khoury follows a turbulent period for DIC.

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