You have the credit crunch to thank for this bit of news. After mulling over their next financial step in refinancing their current £350million loan with RBS, word has leaked out to the Times that Liverpool’s ownership could be on the brink of starting a search to find a buyer for the club!
Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr, the Liverpool owners, have signalled that they are ready to sell their stake at Anfield after engaging Merrill Lynch, the investment bank, to find a buyer for the club.
The Americans need to restructure their £350million loan with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which expires on January 25. However, the bank, at present under public ownership because of the credit crunch, has adopted a policy of restructuring loans only in extremely favourable conditions. While discussions with Gillett and Hicks have not yet opened, their circumstances are not believed to fall into this category. The owners have always denied that the club were available for sale but the latest move signals an acceptance that the American duo’s future control is unsustainable.
Although the Liverpool owners denied yesterday that Merrill Lynch has been engaged, The Times understands that auditors looked at Liverpool’s books last week with a view to finding a buyer. So far, the search appears to be unsuccessful. (The Times)
Finally some good news! Whilst we are still in the very early stages of this story, it does appear that the credit crisis has forced Hicks and Gillett into a corner. The yearly interest payment on the loans has ballooned to an absurd £25m, and that in turn has forced the club to start taking even more from the club coffers to make good on their loans. The current path would essentially lead to a point where Liverpool’s success on the European stage could be the difference between making a small profit or a massive loss. Scary stuff, indeed.
What do Liverpool supporters have to say about the rumours?