US private equity vehicle Rhone Group makes £119m Liverpool bid

Steve Dinneen
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Liverpool FC is considering a bid of £118.5m from US private equity firm Rhone Group.
The bid would give Rhone a 40 per cent stake in the club, making it the majority shareholder. American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett would each reduce their stake from 50 to 30 per cent.

The bid was prompted after Reds’ chief executive Christian Purslow made a plea for outside investors to slash the club’s debt.

The Anfield outfit is obliged to almost halve its £237m debt with Royal Bank of Scotland at the end of the season.

Rhone Group is owned by financiers Robert Agostinelli and Steven Langman. It is based in New York and has offices in London and Paris.

The bid is yet to be considered by the Liverpool board but some analysts are already sceptical about its chance of success. Purslow has said he wants to conclude a deal by Easter.

Hicks and Gillett took joint control of Liverpool in 2007 but have come in for fierce criticism from fans. Their misery has been confounded by stuttering results and persistent rumours they are set to lose their manager and star players including Steven Gerrard.