2 takeover bids received by Liverpool but being blocked by co-owners Hicks, Gillett

By Rob Harris, AP
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

2 takeover bids received by Liverpool

LONDON — Struggling English Premier League club Liverpool has received two new takeover bids, but the club’s American owners are trying to block the other board members from pursuing negotiations.

One bid considered by the board on Tuesday was from the United States and the other was from Asia, a person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because negotiations are ongoing.

The owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball team are one of the bidders, Sky Sports News reported.

Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. won’t accept either bid because they are only willing to match the 218.9 million pounds (then $431 million) they paid for the club in 2007 and partially pay down the club’s debt which has grown to about 285 million pounds ($453 million).

But the other board members were ready to consider accepting one of the bids on Tuesday. Chairman Martin Broughton, managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre are now consulting lawyers about taking legal action against Hicks and Gillett.

“The board of directors have received two excellent financial offers to buy the club that would repay all its long-term debt,” a club statement said. “A board meeting was called today to review these bids and approve a sale. Shortly prior to the meeting, the owners — Tom Hicks and George Gillett — sought to remove Managing Director Christian Purslow and Commercial Director Ian Ayre from the board, seeking to replace them with Mack Hicks and Lori Kay McCutcheon.

“This matter is now subject to legal review and a further announcement will be made in due course.”

The statement said that Broughton, Purslow and Ayre will “continue to explore every possible route to achieving a sale of the club at the earliest opportunity.”

Red Sox president Larry Lucchino declined comment on whether his team was involved in a bid.

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