CHINESE businessman Kenny Huang has promised to give manager Roy Hodgson big money to spend in the transfer market if he succeeds in his bid to buy Liverpool.
Huang, a former Wall Street stockbroker and now head of Hong Kong-based investment company QSL Sports Ltd, announced yesterday he had been in talks with Royal Bank of Scotland over the possibility of taking full control of the club, which has been up for sale since April.
But the tycoon was left on tenterhooks last night when it emerged the club were mulling over several other bids to buy out American co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks.
Chairman Martin Broughton and investment bank Barclays Capital, leading the sale, say they will elect a preferred bidder by the end of next week.
Backed by one of the wealthiest investment funds in the Far East, Huang says he has been locked in discussions with RBS, the club’s main creditors, over buying out the club’s £237m debt.
It is thought Huang has also set money aside to give to Hodgson to strengthen his squad and pay off the unpopular Hicks and Gillett, although it is believed his overall offer is lower than their £350m valuation.
Huang is also keen to revitalise the club’s plans to move into a new 60,000-seater stadium in Stanley Park – a project put on hold by Hicks and Gillett.
A source close to the bid said: “He wants to get it done quickly so investment can come this summer. Liverpool need investment in the playing squad and infrastructure and Huang wants to build the stadium. The club has an outstanding reputation but does not have the infrastructure to keep with it and make it grow.”
Huang’s vow has proved popular with the fans, who have regularly voiced their dissatisfaction at the level of debt taken on by the club after Hicks and Gillett’s £218.9m buyout in February 2007.
MAN BEHIND THE BID | KENNY HUANG
● A former Wall Street stock broker, he became China’s first graduate to work in the New York Stock Exchange in the 1980s.
● Helped bring Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming to the NBA, and through his company, SportsPro Media, has involvement with both the New York Yankees and Cleveland Cavaliers.
● Owner of China’s National Basketball League and founder of QSL Youth Development Sports Foundation, a sports-related charity fund.
● His business venture, Rocket Capital has connections with China’s state industries and invests large amounts into the Hong Kong private equity market.