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Friday, March 07, 2008

Liverpool Latest Takeover News

Fans group still plan Reds takeover
Share Liverpool FC insists DIC's offer to buy out the Anfield club will not prevent them pushing forward with their own takeover bid.

The fans' organisation hope to attract 100,000 people willing to invest £5,000 each to run Liverpool along similar lines to other member-run sides such as Barcelona.
The initiative's founder, Dr Rogan Taylor said: "We will continue to monitor this situation but it won't lessen the effort and commitment we are putting into our serious and robust proposal.
"We would like to see the fans have a full and proper say in the running of their club. We are ready to talk to the owners about making that a reality.
"I strongly believe that Share Liverpool FC will have a significant role to play - we have strong momentum and fans are joining by the hundreds on a daily basis."
Meanwhile Dubai International Capital are awaiting developments following their latest attempt to take over the club.
DIC - the investment arm of the Dubai government - on Tuesday made a £400million offer to buy out American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
With Hicks having indicated a strong desire to retain his 50% stake, the key to the balance of power would appear to rest with Gillett.
Selling his share to DIC would net him a £25million profit on his investment but Hicks, who is believed to have first option, could also buy him out to take total control.
Hicks has not formally rejected DIC's offer but a source close to the Texan say his position remains as entrenched as ever.
Hicks is only interesting in dealing with parties which would allow him to retain the majority shareholding.
Yet should Gillett choose to work with DIC, who have no interest in joint control with Hicks, the club could be left in a difficult position with opposing parties owning each half.
Whether or not it would come to that, however, is doubtful as sources close to DIC, Hicks and Gillett have suggested a deal must be worked out soon.
The American pair face a difficult short-term future following their recent refinancing of the funds they used to buy the club 13 months ago.
That package loaded £105million of debt onto the club, of which £60million is earmarked to kickstart the club's new stadium development.
It is also anticipated that they will soon need to return to the banks to ask for a further £300million in loans to cover the rest of the project in Stanley Park.
It is believed DIC turned their attention to Gillett after finding Hicks an immovable object in negotiations.
"It's no secret that we have been in discussions with the current owners," said DIC chief executive Sameer Al-Ansari.
"It's not easy because the owners are in dreamland about valuations at the moment."
Al-Ansari later clarified that one of the club's owners "had come out of dreamland", without giving further details, although it seems unlikely he was referring to Hicks.
Should Gillett decide to sell, it is thought Hicks would have 90 days to exercise his option to buy.
Hicks has already said it is "premature" to say he has already raised the money with loans from American business colleagues.
DIC may have to accept that Hicks cannot sell at the moment because he is raising money in the US by floating his entire sports empire - Dallas Stars, Texas Rangers and Liverpool.
Fans offer cautious welcome to takeover

Liverpool fans have given a cautious welcome to Dubai International Capital's takeover bid, urging their American owners to accept the offer.

Not for the first time in recent weeks, supporters are expected to express their dissent towards the regime of George Gillett and Tom Hicks during tonight's Barclays Premier League match with West Ham.
Neil Atkinson, spokesperson for the Liverpool Supporters Union `Spirit of Shankly', told the Daily Telegraph: 'Should DIC make their way into the club, they should be welcomed with caution - they may or may not have the best interests of the club at heart.'
Atkinson listed a number of perceived injustices by the current Liverpool owners - including delays in the construction of a new stadium and holding talks with Jurgen Klinsmann - before adding: '(DIC chief executive Sameer) al-Ansari talks about Tom Hicks' valuation of the club being `in dreamland'. Mr Hicks is further in dreamland if he thinks he will ever be accepted at LFC.
'If he tries to grin and bear it then it emphasises what we already know - he's only in it for one reason: the money and the money alone.
'I'm sure Liverpool supporters will make their feelings known at the West Ham game - let Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett go now with their profit.
'Let us start again with new owners, keep our eyes open and work with them within our heritage and tradition.'
Gillett considering DIC offer

Liverpool co-owner George Gillett is still considering an offer from Dubai International Capital to buy his 50% stake in the club.
That was the end product of late-night talks in London yesterday between Gillett's lawyers and DIC negotiators, led by Amanda Staveley, the former girlfriend of Prince Andrew who has emerged as a key mover in the takeover saga.
Staveley, 34, has been reporting directly to DIC chief executive Sameer Al Ansari and Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
And DIC's stance on the current impasse is to allow Gillett and fellow owner Tom Hicks time to assess the situation.
Reports this morning suggested Gillett had last night rejected an offer for his own shares, as it under-valued them.
However, although DIC have made it clear their offer was final, it has been left on the table and has not been dismissed by Gillett.
It is believed that the American co-owners - neither of whom can currently sell without the other's say-so - will try to discover if they can get a better offer for their holding, but DIC believe they will not discover any other takers which would probably bring the pair back to the negotiating table.
Discussions between advisors are ongoing, which means that by the end of the week there will be further talks to end the current impasse.
DIC believe the key to the talks could be when Gillett and Hicks try to raise a further £300million to build the club's new Stanley Park stadium.
The trouble they had with a £350million re-financing package in January means there are doubts over whether they could find a bank willing to give them more cash.
Hicks is still working on finances of his own to raise enough money to buy-out Gillett's stake. But even if he manages that, DIC believe he will still find it increasingly tough to finance Liverpool's new stadium and the transfer requirements of manager Rafael Benitez.