Football

Liverpool to look east

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Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks believes a buyer for the club is more likely to be found in the Middle East or Asia.

The American, together with compatriot George Gillett, put the Reds up for sale last month. He hopes to get between £600million and £800million for the club and feels a mega-rich supporter from their huge overseas fanbase would be the most likely new owner.

"Liverpool has a really big universe of interested buyers," said the Texan. "There are a number of wealthy people all over the world, particularly in the Middle East and Asia, who are enormous Liverpool fans."

Having leveraged huge debt on the club - parent company Kop Holdings were £351million in the red last summer with annual loan repayments of £40million - Hicks may find he has to lower his asking price, especially with a new stadium in Stanley Park still waiting to be built.

The 64-year-old has admitted it could take between 12 and 18 months and the longer it is on the market the more the price will reduce, but Hicks has no desire to carry on and wants out of the sports investment business as quickly as possible.

His Texas Rangers baseball side filed for bankruptcy on Monday 13 months after its parent company, HSG Sports Group, defaulted on £360million of debt.

The Dallas Stars ice hockey franchise is also being sold and Liverpool will be the last of his three main sports investments to be offloaded.

"Sports has never been my primary business," Hicks, who has been the target of a sustained and often vitriolic fans' campaign, told Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

"We are systematically selling our sports assets to focus on our core businesses like private equity and real estate.

"The lack of privacy in sports is something that my family and I aren't willing to undertake any longer. We'll always be big fans but we want our privacy back."

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Liverpool

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