DIC may not raise Liverpool offer
London, April 19, 2008
The battle between the US owners of Liverpool FC and potential buyer Dubai International Capital (DIC) will go on for a few weeks as DIC isn't prepared to raise its offer, a source said.
The situation is deadlocked as Tom Hicks and George Gillett don't want to sell their 50 percent stakes to each other, while the agreement under which they bought the club last year doesn't say what to do in such situation, the sources said on Friday.
This leaves a legal void though the parties want to avoid litigation, the sources said.
While Gillett has said he would sell his stake to DIC, which has made a 500 million pound ($998 million) bid for the English soccer club, Hicks may be waiting for a better offer.
But this may not arrive as the two Americans would already make a considerable profit at the present offer price as they bought the British soccer club for 219 million pounds last year.
DIC's offer includes 350 million pounds of debt, one of the sources said.
DIC is awaiting the outcome of Hicks' negotiations with US investment bank JPMorgan over a loan to his sports group, as failure to repay may force him to sell some of his assets if there is a buyer, one of the sources said.
Hicks, owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, told Sky Sports earlier this week he was preparing an offer to buyout Gillett, but the sources said he hasn't been able to raise the money given the global credit squeeze.
The two US investors fell out when Hicks made public the pair's negotiations with German coach Juergen Klinsmann to Rafa Benitez as manager.
Benitez reiterated on Friday his plans to stay at Liverpool until his contract expires in two years. Both Hicks and Gillett are expected to keep Benitez as manager if they, individually or alongside DIC, keep control of the club, the sources said.
The Spanish manager has taken Liverpool to the final of the lucrative European Champions League twice in the past four years, winning the trophy in 2005. But Liverpool fans are dismayed the takeover saga and Hicks and Gillett's public rift -- including Hicks' demand to sack Chief Executive Rick Parry -- come days ahead the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea on Tuesday.
Hicks and Gillett didn't return phone calls seeking comment. DIC declined comment. - Reuters