IF LIVERPOOL’S sale to New England Sports Ventures is finally completed today, it will mark the end of one of the most convoluted takeovers in the history of English football.
Since the day their bid was accepted by the club’s board on 5 October, NESV have been opposed by Reds owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, and have seen the case argued over twice in the High Court and twice in Texas.
On several occasions the deal has seemed certain to be completed, only for Hicks and Gillett to mount yet another legal challenge; none more so than on Wednesday night when NESV chief John Henry arrived at a Liverpool board meeting fresh from a High Court triumph only to be greeted by a restraining order preventing the deal obtained by Hicks and Gillett in Dallas.
Yet the battle has introduced football supporters to some colourful new characters: the cigar smoking Henry, rival bidder and owner of Manchester United-themed cafes Peter Lim, old-school uber-barrister Lord Grabiner QC and Texan judge Jim Jordan, who boasts his own website.
Reds chairman Martin Broughton is delighted after High Court rules in favour of sale by preventing owners from sacking board
NESV’s John Henry arrives for a Liverpool board meeting in London ready to rubber-stamp his group’s £300m takeover
Solicitors for RBS receive notice that Tom Hicks and George Gillett have won a temporary restraining order against sale in a Dallas court
Liverpool, led by Lord Grabiner QC, RBS?and NESV go back to High Court where they obtain anti-suit injunction against Texan ruling
Rival bidder Peter Lim, an Asian billionaire with a chain of Man Utd themed cafes, officially removes his £320m bid from the table
Judge Jim Jordan in Dallas grants Hicks and Gillet another hearing over order to retract his TRO and adjourns ruling until this morning