Tom Hicks has indicated that he intends to retain control at Liverpool when he warned he may block George Gillett’s attempts to sell to Dubai International Capital.
Hicks also suggested he could gain total control with a buyout of his co-chairman.
American pair Hicks and Gillett beat off competition from DIC to take over Liverpool in February 2007 and own 50% each.
But since then, they have become increasingly unpopular among fans, drawing criticism for their treatment of manager Rafael Benitez and their decision to make Liverpool responsible for the interest payments on the debts they accrued in purchasing the club.
Liverpool’s co-owners have both held negotiations about a possible takeover with DIC in recent months. However, under the terms of their joint takeover last February, Hicks and Gillett have first refusal on each other’s shares and must give their consent to any sale by the partner.
Hicks told DIC he would would only grant permission to purchase Gillett’s shares if he retained control in the boardroom.
DIC has turned down Hicks’ conditions and will only invest if it can become the dominant party. In response to this impasse Hicks has given the first public indication of the breakdown in his relationship with Gillett by reafirming his desire to remain in control at Anfield.
“Not only am I not going to sell, my partner cannot sell without my approval,” Hicks said in an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram yesterday. “So I kind of have the ability to determine the outcome of what is going to happen and I am right in the middle of that.”
Hicks suggested he might purchase Gillett’s stake and become the outright owner. “For a lot of reasons I can’t discuss I haven’t been able to fix it yet. But I am preparing to be in a position to fix it,” he added.