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