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US pair agree Liverpool takeover

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Default US pair agree Liverpool takeover

American tycoons George Gillett and Tom Hicks have reached an agreement to take over Liverpool.
The club have called a news conference at 1400 GMT to announce the details of the buy-out.

Liverpool chairman David Moores, who will become an honorary life president, said: "This is a great step forward for its shareholders and its fans."

Hicks and Gillett, who beat off competition from Dubai International Capital, own NHL ice hockey teams.

The offer is worth £5,000 per share, valuing the club at £174.1m, and along with the club's £44.8m debt their offer is worth £218.9m.

But the pair are also thought to have guaranteed more than £200m towards the cost of building a new stadium.

A club statement said: "Liverpool FC today announced that the board have agreed the terms of an offer for the club from Mr George Gillett and Mr Tom Hicks.

"The board are unanimously recommending that the club's shareholders accept this offer."

Moores added: "This club is my passion and forms a huge part of my life. After much careful consideration, I have agreed to sell my shares to assist in securing the investment needed for the new stadium and for the playing squad.

"I urge all my fellow shareholders to do the same and to support the offer. By doing so, I believe you will be backing the successful future of Liverpool.

"I am also delighted to accept the offer from the Hicks and Gillett families to continue my involvement in the club by becoming honorary life president."

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry added: "This is great for Liverpool, our supporters and the shareholders - it is the beginning of a new era for the club.

"They are bringing to the table tremendous and relevant experience, a passion for sport, real resources and a strong commitment to the traditions of Liverpool.

"Their approach represents exactly the sort of genuine partnership that Liverpool has been seeking over recent times.

"We know that George and Tom want a long-term relationship with Liverpool and that they also understand the importance of investing in our success both on and off the field.

"They have made clear their intention to move as quickly as practicable on the financing and construction of our proposed new stadium at Stanley Park and also to support investment in the playing squad.

"This has been an important time for the club. We now have the right partners for the future. I am absolutely certain we have now ended up in the right place, with owners who will help the club succeed and prosper.

Hicks, who owns the Dallas Stars ice hockey club as well as the Texas Rangers baseball team, joined forces with Gillett to gazump rival bidders DIC last week.

Arrangements over the future of Liverpool's new stadium appear to have clinched the deal.

Hicks has built up a reputation for developing state-of-the-art stadia for his teams.

But his presence apparently ensured that Liverpool will not have to share their new Stanley Park ground with neighbours Everton.

In Gillett's original solo approach he had indicated he wanted a ground-share arrangement to cut costs and maximise income.

Gillett, owner of Montreal Canadiens, has impressed Liverpool with his proposals and the speed at which he completed due diligence - the process of investigation by potential investors - in three days.

The 68-year-old American has also stressed his experience in running successful sporting operations.

It is thought to be the first time that two owners of rival sports clubs in one league have combined to purchase a club in another.

Liverpool will become the third Premiership side to come under the control of American owners, following the takeovers of Manchester United and Aston Villa in recent years.

A joint statement from Gillett and Hicks said: "Liverpool is a fantastic club with a remarkable history and a passionate fanbase.

"We fully acknowledge and appreciate the unique heritage and rich history of Liverpool and intend to respect this heritage in the future.

"The Hicks family and the Gillett family are extremely excited about continuing the club's legacy and tradition.

"We are particularly pleased that David Moores and Rick Parry will have a continuing involvement in the club. For us continuity and stability are keys to the future."
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