Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Liverpool FC tiring of rival bidders' posturing

Martin Broughton

The investment bankers seeking to sell off Liverpool believe those supporting the prospective bids should remove themselves from the limelight as work to secure a deal continues.

Barclays Capital (BarCap) believe that work behind the scenes to pull together a financial deal should take precedence over an attempt to win any PR battle and Martin Broughton, the BarCap investment banker and Liverpool non-executive chairman, hired by Liverpool's owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks, to find a buyer, is understood not to welcome the public utterances.



There is as yet no evidence that bids to buy the club will be on the table before the Liverpool board meets at Anfield tomorrow, though BarCap will not rush the process and will be looking for proof of funds from bidders before it can award preferred bidder status to any one prospective buyer.



The bid supposedly being put together by the Syrian businessman Yahya Kirdi has always seemed the least credible and Kirdi created more uncertainty about his intentions yesterday. He said he was not a "cowboy" and not crazy enough to pay "one pound more" than the market value of the club and rejected the suggestion that he had offered £600m.



"I can't pay one pound more than value of Liverpool," Kirdi said from his home in Montreal. "I'm not crazy," said Kirdi, who also claimed Liverpool had already rejected two of his bids since the club was put up for sale by its American owners in April.



Kirdi, whose representatives have suggested he wants to create a hotel and retail facility as part of a new ground development, said he is backed by "big names" from the Middle East and Canada. He refused to identify them, saying they wanted to remain anonymous until his offer was accepted.



If no viable bid is tabled, Broughton is prepared to go back to Liverpool's bankers, Royal Bank of Scotland, whose £237m loan to Hicks and Gillett is up for refinancing on 6 October and decide on the next course of action. The most likely option would be another extension of the loan, giving Broughton a further six months to find a buyer, though the alternative would be the bank taking over the club.

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