Americans out! Bank could force Reds sale if Liverpool fail to bring in £100m

03 February 2010 11:22
Liverpool's unpopular American owners may be forced to sell up in the summer after claims emerged that the Reds are struggling to raise £100million of new investment needed to satisfy the club's bankers.

Tom Hicks and George Gillett must secure the huge figure - set by banks Wachovia and Royal Bank of Scotland - by July when the pair must again refinance their debts or face losing the Anfield club, which is £237m in debt.

But the man entrusted with finding the investment, managing director Christian Purslow, appears to be struggling in his quest to seek cash by by selling equity.

Unpopular: Tom Hicks (above, left) has felt the wrath of the Reds supporters, who recently protested against the club's American co-owners (below)

Liverpool had hoped to give away a 25 per cent stake in the club in return for the £100m but potential investors now appear unwilling to accept any less than 34 per cent, with Hicks and Gillett owning 33 per cent each, reports the Independent.

The banks' 'requirement' was revealed yesterday in the published minutes of a recent meeting between Purslow and the club's Spirit of Shankly (SoS) fans' group.

However Purslow is said to firmly reject SoS's minutes from their January 21 meeting.

But, in his own minutes, Purslow admits: 'One of our key priorities is to reduce the debt by £100m. This is a requirement from our bankers and will allow us to look at a more flexible and longer term refinancing with our bankers when this investment is brought in.

'Ideally we would like a three or four-year refinancing deal rather than the shorter ones we have had recently.

'The £100m investment will be made by the issuance of new shares, and will not go towards anything else other than paying down the debt, reducing it to £137m. This new investment will also mean a dilution of the current ownership.

'There are now around five or six potential investors with whom we are talking.'

Money to spend: Maxi Rodriguez is evidence of transfer funds, says Purslow

SoS also say Purslow told the group that the club will be sold: 'Theowners have to sell it, they are out of money. The bank want it sold,the fans want it sold and people want to buy it.' Purslow's minutes excluded the assertion.

SoS also said the Anfield MD had told them a failure to qualify for the Champions League next year would harm the club's prospects for investment.

Raising funds: Managing director Christian Purslow

The minutes read: 'The team's performance. is talked about by potential investors, aswhile we might make up the loss [of] Champions League revenue through agood run in the Europa Cup [sic], the loss of Champions League footballnext season would impact upon income and this has a relevance toinvestors.'

Again, Purslow's own version did not include this claim. Neither didthe American confirm SoS's assertion that he expects a deal concludedwith new investors 'by Easter'.

However Purslow does suggestthat even though Rafa Benitez has 'plenty of funding available' tospend in the transfer market, the manager had 'chosen not to bring inanyone other than Maxi Rodriguez, the Argentine international'. 

In contrast Benitez only last month hinted that servicing the club's debt was more important than buying players. 

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Source: Daily_Mail