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Liverpool's American Owners Look to Middle East

  • AP, Wednesday, September 30, 2009 4:30 PM
Liverpool co-owners George Gillett Jr. and Tom Hicks have announced that they are seeking outside investors to help reduce the club's $390 million debt and fund a new 60,000-seat stadium, a project halted in August 2008 because of the global economic downturn. "The owners have jointly retained Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Rothschild to evaluate the possibility of new investors injecting equity into LFC," Hicks and Gillett said in a statement on Tuesday. "However, the process is at an early stage, there is no agreement with any party."

A Saudi Arabian prince, Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdullah al-Saud, said he has been working on a deal to buy all or part of the club for four months on behalf of Swiss investors and two unnamed banks. F6, a sports investment firm chaired by Prince Faisal, told the Associated Press that it signed an exclusive deal with Liverpool to examine the club's accounts. The prince and Gillett, who is also the majority owner of NASCAR team Richard Petty Motorsports, made public the intention to explore the possibilities of building both NASCAR and soccer academies in the Middle East. "We have reached an advanced step with them in this deal," the prince told Alarabiya TV in Arabic on Monday. "For us it's not just about how much shares we acquired -- 30, 40 or even 50 percent -- what's more important for us is the setting up of academies."

Prince Faisal believes a division exists between club owners Hicks and Gillett, who cannot sell their equal stakes in the club without the other's approval, and that his group F6 can alleviate the club's economic strain. "It's clear to everyone that there is a kind of misunderstanding between Gillett and Hicks, but we won't go into that," the prince said. "We are not there to pacify between them but as Saudi investors ... Liverpool despite its massive history is going through a tough period at the moment like many other clubs and we want to add something to it."

 

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