Another door closes on Hicks as Reds' debt deadline looms
Published 21/09/2010 | 05:00
Tom Hicks' 11th-hour bid to retain control of Liverpool in the teeth of bitter opposition from fans took another blow yesterday when it emerged that private equity firm Blackstone Group had decided against providing debt to help him avert a sale.
GSO Capital Partners, Blackstone's debt-restructuring arm, is understood to have considered an involvement with Hicks but decided against it.
Blackstone appeared to represent Hicks' best hope of paying down a large chunk of the £237m debt with which he and co-owner George Gillett have saddled the club, thus securing time to find a buyer willing to enable the American duo to walk away from Anfield with a profit on the £218.9m they paid for the club in 2007.
That route is now closed and Hicks and Gillett seem to be another step closer to a fire sale, in which they would take a major loss on their investment and live to regret their decisions both to demand unrealistic prices for the club and to refuse a degree of control to those, in the case of the US-based Rhone Group, who offered £110m for a 40pc share.
Gillett is believed to be struggling to repay back a £75m loan secured against his 50pc stake in the club in 2008.
Following GSO's decision, Liverpool's bankers Royal Bank of Scotland seem to hold all the cards regarding the club's future.
In 18 days, the terms of a £237m loan expires and if no alternative lending institution can be find, the bank could foreclose on the loan and take control -- an option it has not favoured to date -- or else force a sale. (© Independent News Service)