Reds in talks with investment group

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 firms”.