Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Civil war erupts in Reds boardroom

Tom Hicks (left) and George Gillett (right)

The battle lines have been drawn over the future of Liverpool after owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett stressed they would "resist any attempt to sell the club without due process or agreement".

An astonishing turn of events raised hopes of a sale after the Reds confirmed, for the first time, two official bids had been made. They were described as "excellent financial offers to buy the club that would repay all its long-term debt".

However, after a failed boardroom coup, the American owners claim the bids "dramatically undervalue" Liverpool and say they are determined to hold out for a "fair price that reflects the very significant investment we've made".

Shortly before a board meeting on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the offers, Hicks and Gillett tried to wrest back control of the boardroom by attempting to remove managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre and bring in Hicks' son Mack and Lori Kay McCutcheon, financial controller at Hicks Holdings, to give them back the power to stop any sale.

It failed as the England-based contingent, Purslow, Ayre and chairman Martin Broughton, still have the majority vote.

That was part of the condition of the sale process when it was announced Liverpool was being put on the market in April, with the intention being preventing Hicks and Gillett being able to block a bid because it did not meet up to their expectations in terms of a profit-making deal.

But the situation is now under legal review and that could hold up any deal being done. And the Americans show no intention of backing down.

"In April, we confirmed our agreement to sell Liverpool Football Club, and stated our commitment to finding the right buyer for LFC, one that could support and sustain the club in the future. We remain committed to that goal," said their statement.

"The owners have invested more than 270 million US dollars in cash into the club and the club is one of the most profitable in the EPL. As such, the board has been presented with offers that we believe dramatically undervalue the club.

"To be clear, there is no change in our commitment to finding a buyer for Liverpool Football Club at a fair price that reflects the very significant investment we've made. We will, however, resist any attempt to sell the club without due process or agreement by the owners."

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