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Liverpool consider 'several' takeover bids

Liverpool takeover bid

Huang Liverpool bid explained

By David Bond
BBC Sports Editor

Chinese businessman Kenny Huang is one of "several" potential buyers to submit a bid to Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton, BBC Sport understands.

Huang, who is the head of Hong Kong-based investment company QSL Sports Ltd, values the club at about £325m.

But it is understood as many as six bids were submitted last week.

Broughton and investment bank Barclays Capital, who are leading the sale, will elect a preferred bidder by the end of next week.

Huang has been talking for several weeks to representatives of the Royal Bank of Scotland, with the aim of taking full control of the Reds, who have been up for sale since April this year.

Liverpool's main creditor, RBS is owed about £237m by American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

While RBS has told the BBC it is not negotiating directly with Huang, it is understood he is mounting a credible bid.

Huang is offering to clear Liverpool's debt to RBS, and give new manager Roy Hodgson funds to do business in the transfer window.

However, he wants the deal to be completed within two weeks to allow Hodgson time to strengthen the squad before the transfer deadline at the end of August. Any later and the deal is off.

Kenny Huang
Huang is offering to clear Liverpool's debt to RBS

The tycoon also plans to allocate funds that will allow the club to build a new stadium as soon as possible.

Huang is a well-known figure in the Chinese sporting industry and particularly influential in basketball and baseball.

His QSL Sports Ltd company is a partner of America's Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team and he is also involved with the New York Yankees baseball outfit.

In 1988, he became the first Chinese college graduate from mainland China to work at the New York Stock Exchange.

Huang was reported to have turned down the chance to buy Liverpool in 2008 because he felt a valuation of £650m was too high.

Hicks and Gillett bought the Reds in February 2007 in a deal that valued the club at £218.9m - £44.8m of which was club debts.

But the American duo have endured a difficult time at Anfield, with supporters regularly voicing their dissatisfaction at the level of debt taken on by the club after their buyout.

Last October, several hundred Liverpool fans staged a protest march against the owners ahead of their Premier League match against Manchester United.

The board's popularity with the fans disintegrated further when Hicks' son, Tom Hicks Jr, became embroiled in a row with a supporter who alleged the American had sent him abusive emails.

As a result, Hicks Jr resigned as a director of the club and parent company Kop Holdings, leading to a restructure of the board.

DAVID BOND'S BLOG

Gillett and Hicks have also endured a fractious relationship with each other, which early on in their reign threatened to undermine their ownership with the former revealing the partnership had become "unworkable".

In 2008, Hicks blocked Gillett's moves to sell his 50% share to Dubai International Capital group as the pair feuded over future plans for the club.

An outright £500m takeover bid by the DIC group was also rebuffed, with Hicks hinting he would attempt an outright takeover bid of his own.

They subsequently patched up their differences but took the decision less than four months ago to put the club up for sale, insisting there had been numerous expressions of interest in a buyout.

British Airways boss Broughton was brought in as Liverpool chairman in April to facilitate the sale of the club and along with Hicks and Gillett is part of a five-man board at Liverpool that also includes chief executive Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre.



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see also
Moores calls for Liverpool sale
26 May 10 |  Liverpool
Liverpool post loss as debts rise
08 May 10 |  Liverpool
Liverpool step up investor search
11 Apr 10 |  Liverpool
Fans make Liverpool takeover move
31 Jan 08 |  Business
Owners put Liverpool up for sale
16 Apr 10 |  Liverpool
US pair agree Liverpool takeover
06 Feb 07 |  Liverpool


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