LIVERPOOL’S embattled owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have hired Barclays Capital to find a buyer for the club.
The co-owners, who were involved in a bitter spat over the Anfield club, are ready to cash in on their ill-fated reign.
Likely buyers include Rhone Capital, the private equity vehicle that had a £116m bid for a 40 per cent stake in the club turned down last month. Analysts have suggested the club is worth in the region of £500m but it is understood the American owners will hold out for closer to £600m based on the potential for growth after the club moves to a new stadium. Then pair will make a sizeable profit on the sale after buying the club for £219m from the Moores family in 2007.
The club’s £237m debt has also been extended. However, contrary to reports over the weekend, Royal Bank of Scotland will remain as lender to the club. A source close to the matter told City A.M. there was “no issue” surrounding the extension of the debt and added RBS is keen to remain involved.
In a bid to turn around the club’s fortunes, British Airways chairman Martin Broughton has been installed as chairman. The former head of tobacco giant BAT is a keen Chelsea fan and has also chaired the British Horseracing Authority.
He will be tasked with restoring unity to the club. As well as the public dispute between the owners, manager Rafa Benitez has expressed frustration over the lack of funds available.
BARCLAYS Capital has been appointed by Tom Hicks and George Gillett to find potential buyers for the club.
It is understood the bank has not been given a time limit to track down investors. The American owners of the club are now thought to favour an outright sale rather than a minority partner, as previously thought.
BarCap will be contacting several wealthy backers and private equity vehicles which have already expressed an interest in the club.
US private equity firm Rhone Capital tried to snap up a minority stake in Liverpool last month but saw its advances rejected. BarCap will be eager to explore how deep the firm’s pockets are and if it would consider making a full approach.
City A.M. understands Mark Warren is the lead advisor on the account but BarCap declined to comment.
BarCap has benefited from the bounce-back in private equity and IPO markets. It is advising Bharti on its $10bn (£6.5bn) Zain buy-out. It also advised Travelport on its failed £2bn IPO earlier this year.