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6.2.07

Gillet and Hicks to buy Liverpool for $343 million

Liverpool Football Club agreed to a takeover offer worth 174 million pounds ($343 million) from American sports tycoons George Gillett and Tom Hicks, just five days from Dubai's rejection to English football's most successful club.

In fact, Gillett and Hicks, the founder of leveraged-buyout firm HM Capital Partners LLC, will pay 5,000 pounds a share, Liverpool announced. The pair will also take on debt of 44.8 million pounds and fund a brand new stadium costing 215 million pounds.

"It is just the beginning of a new era," Liverpool Chief Executive Rick Parry said at a press conference. "They are bringing to the table tremendous and relevant experience, a passion for sport, real resources and a strong commitment to Liverpool."

The accord caps a week of acrimony in which Liverpool accused Dubai International Capital LLC of bullying shareholders into backing its offer, 11 percent less than today's tender. In fact, Liverpool, which won the last of its record 18 English league titles in 1990, has been seeking an investor for the past three years and is now poised to become the third elite English club to be bought by owners of U.S. sports franchises.

According to the experts Hicks paid $250 million for Major League Baseball's Texas Rangers in 1998 and owns the National Hockey League's Dallas Stars.

We must mention that Gillett owns ice hockey's Montreal Canadiens and used to run Miami Dolphins of the National Football League and basketball's Harlem Globetrotters. He's also chairman of Booth Creek Ski Holdings Inc., which operates six U.S. ski resorts. He has great experience that will help the Reds.

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