Sport Soccer

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Liverpool takeover: Yahya Kirdi in 'advanced negotiations'

Yahya Kirdi is attempting to buy Liverpool following Fernando Torres's decision to stay. Photo: Reuters
Yahya Kirdi is attempting to buy Liverpool following Fernando Torres's decision to stay. Photo: Reuters

Paul Kelso

Syrian businessman Yahya Kirdi has claimed that he is in "advanced negotiations" with Tom Hicks and George Gillett to buy Liverpool, adding a fresh twist to the public haggling over the club’s future.

In a statement released overnight by his public relations company the Canadian-based businessman said he had reached agreement on a price with the Americans and that a formal purchase agreement is being prepared.

According to the statement he has promised to clear Liverpool's debt with its bankers and to provide the investment required to build the new Anfield in Stanley Park.

The statement said: “Yahya Kirdi, who represents a select group of investors from the Middle East and Canada, confirmed today that his group is in advanced negotiations with Thomas Hicks and George Gillett, co-owners of Liverpool Football Club, to purchase 100pc of the Club.

“Agreement has been reached on all major terms including the purchase price, repayment of the existing bank debt from RBS and Wells Fargo and financing of a new stadium in Liverpool’s Stanley Park. A formal purchase agreement between the parties is in the final stage of negotiation.

“Mr. Kirdi is a resident of Canada and a former Syrian National Football Team player who oversees investments in Europe and North America on behalf of his investor group.

Mr Kirdi said: “Liverpool is a massive football club with passionate and proud fans in Merseyside and in every part of the world. With additional money to improve the squad and financing in place to build the new stadium, LFC will be on a solid foundation to compete in the Premiership and in Europe for years to come.”

Kirdi’s public statement of is an intriguing twist in the battle for control at Anfield coming three days after Chinese businessman Kenneth Huang made his bid for the club public at the beginning of the week.

Kirdi has previously been dismissed as a serious bidder by the club, but when his renewed interest was reported in a Sunday newspaper last week it prompted Huang to go public with his bid.

Tellingly Kirdi claims to be in negotiations with the American owners directly, rather than in talks with club chairman Martin Broughton and Barclays Capital (BarCap), the investment bank appointed to oversee the sale of the club.

Huang by contrast initially approached the club’s bank RBS, which has lent the club and the owners £237m, in an attempt to force a sale on the Americans. He then opened talks with Broughton and BarCap.

claiming he had initially approached the club’s bank RBS before opening talks with Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton and Barclays Capital, the investment bank overseeing the sale process.

Broughton and BarCap were appointed in April after RBS demanded that the Americans sell the club as a condition of extending a financing agreement.

That extension expires in October but Broughton is hopeful of completing a sale this month. Kirdi’s statement will be dismissed by some as an attempt to drive up the price being offered by Huang, but the owners and Broughton have always maintained that there is more than one interested and genuine potential buyer.

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