LFC Talk

Dubai group still interested? by lfctalk
January 26, 2009, 13:19
Filed under: News | Tags: , , ,

Speculation is growing in the Middle East that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum is set to make another move to buy Liverpool FC in the Summer, as sources close to the Sheikh argue that the price of the club is likely to keep dropping as the moment when loans with the ailing Royal Bank of Scotland have to be renegotiated gets closer.

He is the ruler of Dubai and founder of Dubai International Capital, which was involved in lengthy and unsuccessful negotiations to buy the club last year, but walked away when the Sheikh pulled out after the exit of the DIC group.

However, with the strong rivalry between Arab states over Premier League clubs, the Sheikh is again believed to be looking into the possibilities.

The Al-Kharafi family of Kuwait were reported to be in talks with Tom Hicks over a move for the club, but they pulled out quickly after baulking at the £600m asking price.

A source close to the Arab groups stated: “The price was too high and the Kuwaitis were annoyed that their interest was leaked. Surely in the current climate, and with time running out on the Americans who must repay or re-finance their loan in July, nobody is going to buy Liverpool at this present time.”

“The price drops with every passing day, and any prospective buyer would now wait until the summer before making a move. By then, the Americans would have to accept a much lower price – around £400m or lower.”

That applies if the Americans fail to renegotiate the deal with RBS, but reports claim they still remain hopeful of renegotiation. RBS were prepared to give them a six-month extension on that loan. But that was an existing deal, and they are highly unlikely to take on a new agreement with the pair.

The source said: “With the government now having majority control of RBS, it would seem unlikely that Liverpool would be allowed a huge new loan while other businesses around the country are not.”

Talks between Liverpool’s finance director, Philip Nash, and the commercial director Ian Ayre, Hicks Dallas-based team were held with the Kuwaitis last week in both London and the Middle East. But the pricetag of £600m was a stumbling block, as were attempts by Hicks to continue as a minority shareholder. That looks to have brought him back into conflict with fellow owner George Gillett, who wants to leave the club in equality with his co-owner.

Reports of internal friction at Anfield have surfaced again, with the manager Rafael Benítez and the chief executive Rick Parry seemingly supporting a different owner, with Benitez behind Hicks and Parry giving his backing to Gillett.

Both Americans will be at the home game against Chelsea next Sunday. Hicks will be arriving before Gillett, in an attempt to try and persuade Benitez to sign a new deal with the club.

Sheikh Maktoum and his Dubai associates will continue to monitor the situation at Anfield.


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