Doubts cast on possible Liverpool FC takeover by Indian tycoons

10 February 2010 06:40
Mukesh Ambani and Subrata Roy Sahara

LIVERPOOL FC'S debt levels will be a key factor in whether interest from two Indian tycoons leads to major investment, experts said today.

It was revealed yesterday that two businessmen from the sub-continent, Mukesh Ambani and Subrata Roy, were competing for bids to buy a significant stake in the club.

But representatives of Mukesh Ambani, head of Reliance Industries and the wealthiest man in India and seventh-richest in the world, denied claims he was interested in doing business with Liverpool's co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

And it is understood there has been no bid submitted from Subrata Roy, chairman of the Sahara Group in India, although his spokesman would neither confirm nor deny a report suggesting Roy's interest was 'serious'.

The club has refused to comment on the potential buyout, but Reds boss Rafa Benitez said he would welcome any new investors.

Analysts yesterday cast doubt on whether Liverpool FC was an attractive investment opportunity given its current £237m debt levels.

James Dow, a specialist accountant whose Daresbury-based firm, Dow Schofield Watts, has worked with football clubs in the past, said LFC did not have much merit as 'a genuine investment opportunity.'

He said: 'There are real practical impediments to getting a deal done. The club has got a significant amount of debt in it at the moment.

'Hicks and Gillett have personally guaranteed some of that indebtedness, which would be a major stumbling block to getting the deal done.

'An added complication is that you have got to deal with two people, not one. They will have different priorities on what they want to get out of any deal.'

He added: 'Liverpool FC is an excellent franchise and brand, but the current financial structure it's got is something which a potential buyer can't escape from.

'When you also factor in funds for strengthening the squad and building a new stadium, it becomes a very large bill.'

Source: Liverpool_Echo