Saturday 24 February 2018

Liverpool owners put club up for sale

End of an era: George Gillett (l) and Tom Hicks have announced they are selling Liverpool after three years at the helm Photo: Getty Images
End of an era: George Gillett (l) and Tom Hicks have announced they are selling Liverpool after three years at the helm Photo: Getty Images

Paul Kelso

Tom Hicks and George Gillett this morning formally put Liverpool up for sale, while the club confirmed that they have appointed Martin Broughton, the chairman of British Airways, to the same role at Anfield and charged him with finding a buyer for the club.

Broughton's appointment as the new chairman at Anfield will kick-start a new attempt to sell the club by American co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

Broughton, a Chelsea season-ticket holder, will oversee a formal sale process led by investment bank Barclays Capital. The club is also understood to have secured a refinancing deal over £237m (€270m) of loans with their banks Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia that will run until the end of the year.

In a statement released this morning Hicks and Gillett said that owning Liverpool had been "rewarding and exciting" but that the time had come to sell the club to owners capable of taking it on to the next level, a reference to the development of a new stadium.

"Owning Liverpool Football Club over these past three years has been a rewarding and exciting experience for us and our families," they said.

"Having grown the Club this far we have now decided together to look to sell the Club to owners committed to take the Club through its next level of growth and development.

"We are delighted that Martin Broughton has agreed to take the position of Chairman, working alongside the club's excellent senior management team.

Martin is a distinguished business leader of excellent judgment and with a great reputation. He is a genuine football supporter and will seek to oversee the sales process in the best interests of the Club and its supporters.

Broughton said: "I am excited and honoured to be taking up this position. Liverpool is a great club with a fantastic history. I will run this sale process in the right way, for the benefit of the Club and its fans.

"Liverpool is one of the world's greatest clubs and my aim is to try and ensure that we find new owners who are able to build on the Club's recent improved financial performance in order to help deliver sporting success."

The club said in a statement:

"Liverpool Football Club (the 'Club'), today announced that Martin Broughton has been appointed as Chairman with immediate effect. The new Chairman will oversee a formal sale process launched by current owners, Thomas Hicks and George Gillett Jr.

"Following numerous expressions of interest from third parties, the Club has engaged Barclays Capital to advise on the sale process. The Club has the full support of its existing bankers for this process and has financing in place which will fully support the Club's operations.

"Mr Broughton, currently Chairman of British Airways PLC and deputy president of the Confederation of British Industry, will work alongside the club's existing management team of Managing Director Christian Purslow, Commercial Director Ian Ayre and Financial Director Philip Nash.

"The day-to-day running of the club remains in the hands of this team, who have overseen a significant improvement in the financial performance of the Club since 2007. During that time: The Club's revenues have increased by 55pc; Commercial revenues have increased by 83pc; Operating profit (before player trading and exceptionals) has increased by 60pc.

The club will continue to progress the well-advanced plans for a new, larger, and state-of-the-art stadium which will form an exciting part of the club's future development."

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