As is quickly becoming commonplace at Liverpool Football Club of late, the already fairly convoluted plot surrounding the club’s proposed takeover has had it’s viscosity well and truly increased.
After gaining an injunction to effectively wrest boardroom control back from outbound owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett last week, Liverpool’s independent executives are busy pleading their case before the High Court in London this morning.
Chairman Martin Broughton is hoping for legal conformation that the American owners have breached the terms of the contracts that were handed to him and his associates in April (when they were appointed to help facilitate the sale of the football club), by attempting to usurp the English contingent of the club’s board last week.
Therefore, should the court find in Broughton’s favour, Hicks and Gillet will be left without a proverbial leg to stand on in their continuing attempts to block the sale of club.
The start of the legal wrangling, that could realistically take several weeks to conclude, coincides with the revelation that New England Sports Ventures (NESV) i.e. the American consortium that agreed a £300 million deal with Broughton last week, have been joined in the bidding by Singapore-based billionaire Peter Lim – who is planning to use his vast personal wealth to fund a takeover, meaning that he wouldn’t have to seek any supplementary finances or loans.
Lim matched NESV’s offer last week, but has now nudged his nose in front by upping his bid to £320 million, releasing a statement this morning to detail his intentions;
“I respect and admire Liverpool Football Club, which is steeped in tradition and history. I am committed to rebuild the club so that it can soon regain its position at the pinnacle of English and European football, where it truly belongs. This is why I have stepped forward with this offer.
I believe that if its massive debt burden can be removed, the club would be able to focus on improving its performance on the pitch. My offer pays off the existing owners’ bank acquisition debt and also frees the club of its own bank debt.
If the board accepts this offer, the monies are available immediately thereby removing the threat of administration.”
The investment tycoon also confirmed that, along with the basic bid, he would be including a further £40 million to be used solely for player acquisitions (that’s about two Raul Mereiles‘, a couple of Paul Koncesky‘s and a Glen Johnson thrown in for good measure);
“The club needs to strengthen its existing squad. As part of this offer, I will be injecting £40m in cash into the club for Roy Hodgson to bring in new players during the upcoming transfer window. Liverpool needs to start winning again!”
Whereas Lim is making all the right noises via the medium of carefully worded press releases (although announcing your transfer budget isn’t usually deemed to be a particularly smart move), NESV owner John W Henry has taken to Twitter in a bid to connect with the Liverpool supporters that Hicks and Gillett alienated so readily;
“Hello LFC supporters. Yes, everyone is hoping for the best. There have been enough twists and turns. Hopefully all gets sorted out soon; LFC moves forward.
It would be inappropriate and presumptuous at this time to respond to questions. In the interim, we’re all rooting for the same thing.”
…and so, as it would now appear, is a Singapore tycoon worth approximately £1bn.