Monday 22 January 2018

Ex-BoI boss in €450m Liverpool FC buyout bid


FORMER Bank of Ireland deputy governor George Magan’s private equity firm is thought to be one of the five potential bidders for Liverpool Football club.

Magan, who stood down as deputy governor last year, is one of the partners in US private equity player Rhone Group, which is understood to have expressed an interest in the club. Rhone Group owns stakes in surf and ski manufacturer Quiksilver, the Greek Yellow pages Infote and Arizona Chemicals.

Chinese businessman Kenny Huang and Syrian financier Yahya Kurdi have both said they were considering a bid for the €450m-valued premiership club, and Kuwait’s Al Kharafi family are also thought to have expressed an interest. An Indian consortium ruled out a bid last week.

Rhone Group first approached Liverpool about four months ago and was initially said to be interested in buying a 40 per cent stake in the club and providing €120m to pay down some of the Premiership team’s debt mountain.

The Kenny Huang-led consortium is widely seen as the front-runner for the club, which is labouring under a €290m debt largely owed to Royal Bank of Scotland. Liverpool faces a €24m penalty payment to its bankers if the club is not sold by the end of August, according to recent reports.

Magan was a director of Bank of Ireland for six years until his departure last year. He was appointed deputy governor in 2006. It is understood that Bank of Ireland is not involved in funding the Rhone Group.

However, Bank of Ireland has had strong links with the Premiership, having helped fund the construction of both Arsenal’s Emirates stadium and Wembley. Irish Nationwide was at one stage involved with lending money for the redevelopment of Fulham’s Craven Cottage ground. Earlier this year it emerged that AIB held a €100,000-per-year box at the Emirates stadium.

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