Dubai International Capital abandons Liverpool bid

 

Khaleej Times – 12/06/2008

(MENAFN – Khaleej Times) Dubai International Capital (DIC) has said it was abandoning for the time being its bid to buy Liverpool Football Club as the battle between the premier league club’s co-owners � Tom Hicks and George Gillett �appeared to show no sign of abating.

DIC Chief Executive Sameer Al Ansari has reportedly admitted that while the Dubai based consortium would “still love to own” Liverpool and will “continue to be interested” in the club, no deal will possible until current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett sort out their own differences.

“You have two partners who do not see eye to eye. And we decided that we pull out completely. Let them sort out their problems,” he was quoted by Arabian Business magazine.

DIC was prepared to pay in the region of �510 million for the club, thereby allowing Hicks and Gillett to walk away with a profit of around �40 million each.

Hicks, though, refused to sell his stake and is currently trying to raise the necessary capital to buy out his co-owner.

But with Gillett privately insistent he will not sell to Hicks at any price there is an impasse which shows no immediate sign of being sorted out.

With this being the case DIC have now decided to walk away, although Al Ansari has not ruled out coming back in with another offer should Hicks and Gillett sort out their differences.

“We will continue to be interested and would love to own the club but we are not going to put ourselves in a difficult situation where we make the investment but we have no control over the destiny of the club and we cannot influence the success of the club. Unfortunately, the terms that have been put on the table do not allow us to do that,” he said.

The battle for control of Liverpool, which appeared to be heading for a truce, took a dramatic turn last month when Hicks reportedly rejected a compromise formula that would enable DIC to acquire a 49 per cent stake.

Hicks, who owns 50 per cent of the club, controls the situation because of a pre-emption agreement with the other co-owner George Gillett, who is willing to sell his 50 per cent stake to DIC. The pre-emption agreement says that one partner can’t sell his stake without the other’s approval.

Under the terms of the proposed compromise deal ironed out last month, Gillett would sell his 50 per cent share in the club, but rather than sell the entire stake to DIC, he will sell 1 per cent of the company to Hicks and the remaining 49 per cent to DIC. The deal would allow Hicks to assume majority control, although DIC may ultimately buy him out, sources familiar with the deal said.

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

“We will continue to be interested and would love to own the club but we are not going to put ourselves in a difficult situation where we make the investment but we have no control over the destiny of the club and we cannot influence the success of the club,” Al Ansari adds, insisting the deal can only happen for the “right reasons”.

Al Ansari also denied any talks with the Virgin Group about investment backing after the latter was hit hard as a result of the ailing US economy.

“We are not in discussions with Virgin so whatever is in the press is just speculation,” he says.

 

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