Reds in talks with investment group
Liverpool are in talks with private equity firm the Rhone Group
over a proposed £118.5million deal to buy a significant share
of the club.
It is understood the global investment group is looking to
secure a 40 per cent stake at Anfield which, if it were to go
ahead, would considerably strengthen the club’s financial position.
Co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have been told by the
Royal Bank of Scotland, as part of the refinancing package they
agreed last year, they have to reduce the club’s £237million
debt by £100million this summer.
Chief executive Christian Purslow has been working to find
outside investors who could meet this criteria and previously
stated he wanted to secure a deal by Easter.
However, the offer from the Rhone Group – which is the first
real positive result of Purslow’s wide-ranging search – would be
used to slash the club’s debt by half.
That would have the effect of immediately making Liverpool a
more attractive option for outside investment.
It would also improve the club’s credit-worthiness, which
could, in turn, lead to cash being secured to finally begin work on
the long-awaited new stadium in Stanley Park.
If successful the Rhone Group’s bid would give them the
controlling interest in the club, with Hicks and Gillett reducing
their shareholding to 30 per cent each.
Details of the offer were only received by Liverpool on
Saturday and the matter has yet to be discussed at board level.
There have been suggestions on Sunday that the American
co-owners are looking for a better price but with the clock ticking
on the time they have to meet RBS’ requirements it may yet prove to
be a viable option.
The Rhone Group was founded in 1995, has its headquarters in
New York with other offices in London and Paris and describes
itself as “one of the world’s leading mid-market private equity