x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

No talk of buying Reds stake

George Gillett, the Liverpool co-owner, has played down speculation the Saudi Arabia's Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdullah al-Saud is set to buy his 50 per cent stake.

George Gillett, the Liverpool co-owner, has played down speculation the Saudi Arabia's Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdullah al-Saud is set to buy his 50 per cent stake in the Premier League club. With Prince Faisal's F6 Sports Investment company - reportedly on behalf Swiss investors and two unnamed banks - carrying out due diligence on the club's books, Gillett insisted discussions are limited to a regional contract to boost Liverpool's Middle East presence, and not linked to multi-million investment or buy-out plans.

"The academies in Saudi Arabia and North Africa and their possible involvement in Nascar-type racing in the Middle East were the only items [at a meeting earlier this week] on the agenda," said Gillett. The attempt to play down take-over talk was echoed by Barry Didato, F6's director of investments, who said the company's tie-up with Liverpool "does not involve the possibility of an immediate investment".

"A lot of people have jumped the gun ... any possible investment would be several months away," said Didato. "The agreement leaves the door open [for future investment], but that was certainly not the focus of it." In fresh developments, however, Gillett and Tom Hicks - who co-own the Merseyside club - have revealed they are seeking outside investment from two further banks to help reduce the club's £245million (Dh1.43 billion) debt and fund a new 60,000-seat stadium.

Meanwhile, Arsenal director Stan Kroenke, the largest shareholder at the north London club, has increased his stake again. Kroenke has bought a 80 more shares at £8,500 per share, taking his holding in the Gunners to 28.7 per cent. Kroenke also owns the NBA's Denver Nuggets. emegson@thenational.ae