Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Liverpool FC takeover completed

Liverpool FC new owner John W Henry (left), of NESV with Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton
Liverpool FC managing director Christian Purslow talks to the media outside the offices of Slaughter and May in the City of London
Liverpool FC fans celebrate the news of new owners at the club outside the offices of Slaughter and May in the City of London

Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow believes New England Sports Ventures' conduct in their takeover of the club shows they will be good owners.

NESV, owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball franchise, completed a £300million takeover after overcoming legal hurdles put in the way by the departing Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

Mr Purslow said the way in which NESV had remained patient through several days of legal action and their non-leveraged takeover - in contrast to Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett's buy-out in 2007 - was a pointer for the future.

"The most important thing is that NESV have cleared us of all the debts which, frankly, shouldn't have been on the club in the first place," he said.

"They've done so in a way which leads me to believe that they will learn the lessons of the past and approach the challenge of owning Liverpool Football Club in a way which I think our fans will judge over time and which I'm optimistic will prove to be a very positive improvement on what we've been through recently."

Mr Purslow said finally getting the deal done, in the face of threatened legal action against him and fellow directors chairman Martin Broughton and commercial director Ian Ayre by Hicks and Gillett, filled him with pride.

"Given how this is right up against a deadline which could have had very serious implications for our football club, I'm hugely relieved, hugely pleased to have got over the finishing line" he added, referring to the Royal Bank of Scotland loan which had to be repaid by Friday.

"I wish it hadn't taken as long and I wish it hadn't had the twists and turns along the way, but it's very pleasing to get the job done."

The former co-owners dropped their £1billion Texas lawsuit against Royal Bank of Scotland and the club's directors, but could still launch action in England.

The American duo dropped the 1.6billion US dollar claim initially lodged in a Dallas court. However, they are considering their next move and a statement from their lawyers suggests they may bring the fight to England - where they lost a High Court battle to retain control of the club this week.

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