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25 February 2024

Final whistle on Liverpool deal?

By Agencies

Liverpool takeover talks involving Tom Hicks and Dubai International Capital (DIC) were terminated on Monday amid disagreement over who should be running the club, according to the co-owner.

"Based on a meeting held earlier today in Dubai between my representatives and officials of DIC, as well as other recent contacts between us and them, I have decided to terminate any further discussions with DIC regarding their possible purchase of a minority stake in Kop and, in turn, in the club," Hicks told Liverpool's website (www.liverpoolfc.tv)

Kop are the holding company set up by Hicks and his fellow American co-owner George Gillett.

DIC, though, reiterated its statement from earlier on Monday that takeover talks had reached an "advanced" stage but a price and shareholding details still had to be thrashed out.

"DIC made it clear that if they invested in the club they would want it to be managed by committee," added Hicks.

"Based on my 13 years of successful experience as an owner of professional sports teams and... on the situation at Liverpool over the past year, it is clear to me such a committee approach would not be in the best interest of Kop, the club or the club's loyal and passionate supporters."

DIC chief executive Sameer al-Ansari said last week discussions with Hicks and Gillett were stuck because one of the owners "was in dreamland" about valuations.

But a statement issued on Friday by an adviser to DIC, which is owned by the ruler of Dubai, said DIC was willing to accept a 49 per cent stake in the English Premier League club, opening the door to a deal where Gillett could secure an exit and Hicks increase his stake from 50 to 51 per cent.

"Subject to renegotiation of a partnership agreement and subject to the stringent minority shareholder protection rights we would be prepared to accept a 49 per cent shareholding in Liverpool," said Amanda Staveley of PCP Capital Partners, which is leading negotiations on behalf of DIC.

"This arrangement provides the best possible solution to the situation and would be in the best interests of the club and their loyal fans."

DIC, which has made a 400 million pounds ($807.6 million) bid for the Merseyside club, said on Monday it was "in advanced discussions" with Liverpool's co-owners although no agreement had been reached on price or shareholding percentage.

Hicks, who bought Liverpool for 219 million pounds with Gillett a year ago, made the partnership proposal to Staveley nine days ago, according to media reports.

Billionaires Hicks, who also owns the Texas Rangers baseball team, and Gillett, owner of the Montreal Canadiens ice hockey team, outbid DIC when they bought the club last year. (Reuters)