Dubai International Capital’s attempt to purchase a minority stake in Liverpool looks to have failed after Tom Hicks, the club’s co-owner, terminated talks and blocked the sale of George Gillett’s holding to the company.
Negotiations between Hicks and DIC reached a stalemate over their working relationship on the first day of talks between lawyers representing the Liverpool co-chairman and officials in Dubai.
The investment arm of the Dubai government had shelved plans to buy the club and appeared to have opted to buy 49% of the club from Gillett, allowing Hicks become majority owner.
However, Hicks has blocked that approach, leaving DIC considering legal action based on the legality of the Texan’s veto.
In a statement, Hicks said: “Based on a meeting held earlier today in Dubai between my representatives and officials of Dubai International Capital, as well as other recent contacts between us and them, I have decided to terminate any further discussions with DIC regarding their possible purchase of a minority stake in Kop [Holdings] and, in turn, in the club.
“DIC made it clear that if they invested in the club, they would want it to be managed by committee. Based on my 13 years of successful experience as an owner of professional sports teams, and based in particular on the situation at Liverpool Football Club over the past year, it is clear such a committee approach would not be in the best interest of Kop, of the club or of the club’s loyal supporters. Accordingly, I have decided to exercise my right under the Kop Football (Holdings) Limited partnership agreement to veto any sale of any portion of Kop and the club to DIC.
“I and my colleagues and representatives will continue to explore a number of other options with regard to the ownership of Kop and the club aimed at achieving an appropriate ownership, financial and organisational structure over the long term.”
Hicks and Gillett took control of Liverpool in a deal worth £218.9m in February 2007. But their own relationship has broken down and the pair have come in for strong criticism from supporters.
It is believed Gillett is willing to sell but the situation is complicated by an agreement between him and Hicks whereby one cannot sell his share without the agreement of the other.