Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Liverpool owners lose court battle

Liverpool

The High Court on Wednesday granted injunctions that could open the way for the prompt sale of Liverpool.

The club's owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett asked a judge to delay the hearing of an application by creditors Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) for mandatory orders paving the way for a possible sale this week. But the plea was rejected by Mr Justice Floyd, sitting at the High Court in London.

At RBS's request, the judge imposed injunctions on the two men requiring them to restore the original constitutions of the companies and managing directors. This removes the final stumbling block to a £300million takeover by New England Sports Ventures (NESV), which will see the RBS recoup its original £237million loan to Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett when they bought the club in March 2007.

Mr Justice Floyd rejected applications by the owners for an injunction to halt the sale negotiations until they had attended a board meeting and there be further discussions over any sale agreement.

"I am not prepared to grant any relief," he said. "If I did it would risk stopping the sale and purchase agreement going ahead."

He said this would result in potential serious damage to the club and RBS.

On Tuesday the judge heard Hicks had tried to block the NESV deal last week by removing managing director Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre from the board of the Liverpool Football Club companies.

He had then installed his son, Mack, and business associate Lori McCutcheon so that he had control of voting on the board before a meeting to decide on which bid to accept for the sale of the club.

But this was in breach of agreements the Americans signed with the bank when RBS extended it credit facilities. The RBS loan facility ends on Friday and the bank had applied to the court for the injunction to allow the sale to go ahead and recoup its money.

The owners were refused permission to appeal. The judge said it would be "inappropriate in the circumstances" for him to grant leave, and they would have to apply to the appeal court for permission.

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