Reds in talks with investment group

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Football News

Liverpool are in talks with private equity firm the Rhone Group over a proposed £118.5million deal to buy a significant share of the club.

Press Association Sport understands the global investment group is looking to secure a 40% stake at Anfield which, if it were to go ahead, would considerably strengthen the club's financial position.

Co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have been told by the Royal Bank of Scotland, as part of the refinancing package they agreed last year, they have to reduce the club's £237million debt by £100million this summer.

Chief executive Christian Purslow has been working to find outside investors who could meet this criteria and previously stated he wanted to secure a deal by Easter, but the offer from the Rhone Group - which is the first real positive result of Purslow's wide-ranging search - would be used to slash the club's debt by half.

That would have the effect of immediately making Liverpool a more attractive option for outside investment.

It would also improve the club's credit-worthiness, which could, in turn, lead to cash being secured to finally begin work on the long-awaited new stadium in Stanley Park.

If successful the Rhone Group's bid would give them the controlling interest in the club, with Hicks and Gillett reducing their shareholding to 30% each.

Details of the offer were only received by Liverpool on Saturday and the matter has yet to be discussed at board level.

There were suggestions on Sunday that the American co-owners are looking for a better price but with the clock ticking on the time they have to meet RBS' requirements it may yet prove to be a viable option.

The Rhone Group was founded in 1995, has its headquarters in New York with other offices in London and Paris and describes itself as "one of the world's leading mid-market private equity firms".

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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