x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Overtures from China 'welcomed'

A China-based group of investors said yesterday that Liverpool have welcomed its initial plans to take over the Premier League club.

NEW YORK // A China-based group of investors said yesterday that Liverpool have welcomed its initial plans to take over the Premier League club - and stressed that they had no intention of letting the club's unpopular American owners make a big profit. Marc Ganis, whose Chicago-based company Sportscorp Ltd. has helped form the investment group co-headed by Hong Kong businessman Kenneth Huang, said the group first contacted Martin Broughton, the Liverpool chairman, on Monday.

"We haven't submitted a formal proposal but we submitted the broad parameters of what a proposal would look like to see if it would be welcomed, and it was," Ganis said in a telephone interview with Associated Press. Ganis said any deal would not close until after the transfer window closes on August 31. Broughton is selling the 18-time English league champions on behalf of the American co-owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr.

A company called QSL Sports Limited would be controlling owner of the limited liability corporation that would own Liverpool FC. QSL is co-headed by Huang and Guang Yang, a fellow financier. Ganis said those two would be the only owners involved in the management of the club. Other investors would be passive, and each would own no more than 20 per cent. Hicks said he wants between £600 million (Dh3.5 billion) and £800m for the club, whose known debt last stood at £237m.

Ganis said his group will not bid close to Hicks' valuation. "If anybody wants to, good luck," he said, without disclosing what his group is willing to bid. Ganis said the group had four primary goals if it makes a bid: leave Liverpool debt free; construct the long-delayed new stadium to replace Anfield; invest a large amount in the team; expand Liverpool's fan base and commercial activities in Asia.

* AP