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Liverpool's owners have six months to raise £100m

Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr have less than six months to secure the £100m investment demanded by their creditors or they run the risk of being forced to put the club up for sale.

Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow revealed the extent of the pressure that is being brought to bear on the club to reduce their £237m debt by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) -- with who they have a one-year refinancing agreement that is due to expire at the end of July -- in the minutes of a meeting he held with the Spirit Of Shankly (SOS) supporters' group.

RBS has made it a prerequisite of another refinancing deal being secured that Liverpool cut their debts by £100m. Should they fail to do so, Hicks and Gillett would be faced with two options: find another financial institution willing to enter into an arrangement with them or put the club on the market. Purslow refused to guarantee that such investment would be secured.



embroiled

This disclosure was clouded by controversy, with Purslow becoming embroiled in a row with SOS over the minutes of the meeting. The ensuing row threatened to distract attention from the revelations surrounding Liverpool's financial plight.

But the admission that neither Hicks nor Gillett will be injecting any further capital into the club they bought in February 2007 ensured that the dispute did not take precedence over the more serious matter of the monetary pressures that the Anfield side are under.

The admission by their managing director Purslow that there is no plan B should talks with a number of potential investors come to nothing raised the possibility of the Americans being forced to sell in the summer.

"One of our key priorities is to reduce the debt by £100m," said Purslow. "The £100m investment will be made by the issuance of new shares and will not go towards anything else other than paying down the debt, reducing it to £137m. This new investment will also mean a dilution of the current ownership.

"There are no promises (that investment can be secured by July), just an expectation and hope that it can be done in that time. There are now around five or six potential investors with whom we are talking."

Meanwhile, Liverpool are closer towards agreeing a pre-contract deal to sign Milan Jovanovic, the Standard Liege and Serbia forward, who will be available on a free transfer in the summer.

© The Times, London


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