Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Premier League reject Mill request

Liverpool

The takeover of Liverpool by Boston Red Sox owner John W Henry has moved significantly closer after it emerged the Premier League have rejected an attempt by a hedge fund to submit to their owners' and directors' test.

In a last throw of the dice to prevent the takeover by Henry's New England Sports Ventures (NESV), current owner Tom Hicks is trying to sell his stake to Mill Financial, a USA-based hedge fund.

Mill Financial approached the Premier League on Thursday night but were rejected - the league told the fund they could only take instruction from the board of Liverpool who have already agreed to sell to NESV for £300million. Hicks is trying to enlist Mill Financial - who already own George Gillett's 50% of the club - to pay the £280million debt to the Royal Bank of Scotland by Friday's deadline and thwart the takeover by NESV.

NESV said that if Hicks did try to sell out to Mill Financial they would go back to the High Court.

AN NESV source said: "If that were to happen we would take this back to the High Court as soon as possible. Mill Financial would just be pawns of Tom Hicks and we believe this is all about Tom Hicks maintaining his control over Liverpool."

John W Henry has also pledged to fight Hicks' "last desperate attempt" to hang on to Liverpool, saying NESV has a binding agreement to buy the club.

Hicks has also removed the restraining order imposed by a Texas court preventing the club's sale to allow him to sell his stake to Mill Financial.

Henry said on his Twitter account on Friday morning: "We have a binding contract. Will fight Mill Hicks Gillett attempt to keep club. Their last desperate attempt to entrench their regime."

NESV are poised ready to send the money for their £300m takeover and believe they have the law on their side - their lawyers won a second successive significant victory yesterday when Mr Justice Floyd granted anti-suit injunctions to nullify decisions taken in the court in Dallas late on Wednesday.

The judge said his mandatory orders were not aimed at the Texas court but Hicks and Gillett to stop them taking further action there. He was scathing in his remarks about the American co-owners' conduct, which he described as "unconscionable".

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