Prem chiefs reject Mill approach

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 last 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

today’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 this

morning: “We have a binding contract. Will fight Mill Hicks Gillett

attempt to keep club today. Their last desperate attempt to

entrench their regime.” NESV are 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”. Liverpool’s independent

chairman Martin Broughton, who brokered the NESV deal, was positive

as he left the offices of their legal team Slaughter and May last

night. “We’re nearly there. We’ve still got to take away the

restraining order,” said Broughton, who added he hoped to have a

deal in place for Henry to attend Sunday’s Merseyside derby at

Goodison Park. “Mr Henry is very committed. My guess is we’ll have

it done and he’ll be there – but we’ve got to get rid of this order

first.” Hicks and Gillet have, however, claimed they will sue for

£1billion in damages because, they believe, the sale to NESV

was “illegal” and have threatened to launch another destabilising

legal action. A statement from Hicks’ and Gillett’s New York

representatives announced they were suing over “an extraordinary

swindle” but appeared to accept that they will have to relinquish

ownership of the club. Steve Stodghill, the Texas lawyer

representing the duo, said: “This outcome not only devalues the

club but it also will result in long-term uncertainty for the fans,

players and everyone who loves this sport because all legal

recourses will be pursued. “Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett pledged to pay

the debt to RBS so that the club could avoid administration that

was threatened by RBS. That offer was rejected. “It is a tragic

development that others will claim as a victory. This means it

won’t be resolved the way it should be resolved.”