Reds takeover bid approaching crucial stage
Published 16/08/2010 | 05:00
Liverpool will spend the coming days conducting forensic investigations into the financing of the handful of "formal bids" submitted by contenders to buy the club last Thursday, managing director Christian Purslow has revealed.
The club confirmed on Friday night that several formal offers to complete a takeover at Anfield -- and bring an end to the three-year tenure of owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett -- have been received by the board, led by chairman Martin Broughton.
Though those offers do not include a formal "proof of funds", initial background checks on all candidates have been completed and results are thought to be positive.
"We have a number of bids and the board is going to take its time to examine those extremely carefully," Purslow said. "Our No 1 priority is to make sure we know what we would be getting into with any new owner. We take that deadly seriously.
"To know who they are, where the money is coming from, what their plans are and to establish that there is a real commitment for a very long-term stable and secure financial position for the club. Second to that priority -- and it's a very close second -- is to sell the club as soon as possible."
Purslow insisted there is no leading contender to complete a buy-out and moved to dampen expectations that a deal could be arranged by the close of the transfer window. "It will not take a lifetime but I would not expect it to happen tomorrow," he said.
The fact that a number of bids have been received, though, and have satisfied initial checks, suggests that the Hicks and Gillett regime is reaching its conclusion.
The Americans, who were not present at the board meeting to assess the offers, are believed to have tried to refinance the £237m of bank debt held with the Royal Bank of Scotland with other banks as recently as June, though they were blocked by a legal challenge from their own board.
Kenny Huang, the Chinese entrepreneur, remains a contender, while it is thought the Emirate of Sharjah retains some interest. The Kuwaiti Al-Kharafi family, first linked with a takeover of the club 18 months ago, are also believed to have been in contact with Barcap. (© The Daily Telegraph)