Reds face more owner strife as Hicks plans £282m buy-out

LIVERPOOL fans have been warned they could face two more years of boardroom turmoil as the battle for control at Anfield rumbles on.

Unpopular American Tom Hicks is reportedly preparing a £282m deal to retain his current share of the debt-ridden club and buy-out of co-owner George Gillett.

It was revealed that Hicks is to sign a refinancing agreement with The Blackstone/GSO Group – one of the world’s biggest private equity firms – on 1 October.

The bad news for Reds fans, however, is that the deal does not include investment for new players or a proposed new stadium.

It also ensures that Hicks has until 2012 to find a new owner.

According to the News of the World, Hicks revealed his plans to deal with Blackstone/GSO during a three-hour meeting in London on Wednesday.

Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton, chief executive Christian Purslow, director Ian Ayre and finance director Phillip Nash were also in attendance, but there was no sign of Gillett.

The man behind the Blackstone/GSO Group is Philadelphia-born chairman Stephen Schwarzman – a close personal friend of Hicks, worth around £3bn and once dubbed “The King of Wall Street”.

Hicks and Gillett announced their intentions to sell the club in April, but an inflated price tag of over £300m has already scared off potential investors such as Chinese businessman Kenny Huang and Syrian Yayha Kirdi.