LIVERPOOL’S future is mired in uncertainty once again today after co-owner Tom Hicks’s attempt to refinance his debt and take full control of the club collapsed.
GSO Capital Partners, the debt restructuring arm of private equity group Blackstone which had discussed loaning Hicks £280m, is thought to have walked away from talks with the American.
It leaves Hicks facing a desperate scramble for another backer before he has to repay a £237m loan to Royal Bank of Scotland next month – or risk the bank seizing the club. The total money now outstanding to RBS?is thought to be around £280m due to penalty fees.
Fans’ groups are planning a sit-in protest following Saturday’s visit of Sunderland to show opposition to the owners and demand more transparency in the way the club is run.
GSO Capital Partners were said to be on the brink of completing a deal with Hicks, who co-owns Liverpool with George Gillett, having reached agreement in principle following talks during recent weeks.
Hicks is thought to have then detailed his plans to strike a deal with GSO to chairman Martin Broughton and the rest of the Anfield board in a meeting in London last week.
Liverpool’s board is said to be opposed to Hicks tightening his grip on the club and thereby delaying its sale. The Reds have been actively seeking a buyer for months, but the Texan’s desire for a healthy profit on his and Gillett’s initial £218.9m outlay has proved a deterrent.
The GSO refinancing would have meant Hicks, right, buying out Gillett and suggestions an agreement was imminent provoked several Liverpool supporters’ groups to voice their opposition over the weekend.
The Americans are unpopular figures on Merseyside, owing to the chaotic and largely disappointing nature of their reign since buying the club in 2007.
They have failed to win a trophy and sold midfielder Javier Mascherano in the summer, although they did hold on to captain Steven?Gerrard and striker Fernando Torres.
British Airways chairman Broughton was hired earlier this year to accelerate a sale but no bid has emerged despite interest from Rhone Capital and Chinese businessman Kenny Huang.