Author Topic: Off Pitch articles thread  (Read 26526 times)

Offline Armin

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Off Pitch articles thread
« on: June 19, 2008, 08:45:47 AM »
This topic is for articles only, additional comments or responses will be summarily deleted.

You may post a one or two line introduction if there's a particular part of the article which you feel is of particular relevance.
 
Please ensure you include a link to the original article.

Only post articles which deal directly or indirectly with the Off the pitch goings on at LFC. You can include general articles about football finance or ownership for instance if you feel they're relevant to the ongoing events at LFC.

You can also post the article separately if you feel it merits discussion. Even if you weren't the person to post it here if you read it and want to comment you can repost it in a new thread. The usual advice to check whether its been posted previously applies.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2008, 01:01:23 PM by Armin »
Well, I don't know what it is, but there's definitely something going on upstairs

Offline Armin

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Re: LFC Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2008, 08:46:42 AM »
Foreign owners to appear before Parliament
Wednesday, 18 June 2008

LONDON (AP) - Liverpool’s feuding American owners have been invited to appear before a British parliamentary inquiry.

Co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr., along with Manchester City’s Thaksin Shinawatra, have been asked to appear before the All Party Parliamentary Football Group. The British lawmakers are investigating problems involving how English Premier League teams are being run, particularly fans’ concerns over foreign owners and their increasing influence.

Hicks and Gillett could use one of the hearings in the fall to air their grievances with each other since taking over Liverpool last year.

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina echoed fans’ concerns Tuesday about the club’s financial situation, including substantial debts.

“Things aren’t especially good (economically),” Reina said at Spain’s training camp at the European Championship. “You hope that everything comes into order (off the field), but there is little to say since we can do little.”

Accounts released earlier this month showed that the American owners, who gained control of Liverpool in March 2007, had net losses of $67 million by July 31, 2007. The team’s chief executive Rick Parry, whose resignation was demanded by Hicks in defiance of Gillett, also was invited to testify.

Alan Keen, the inquiry’s chairman, is concerned that the feud has overshadowed the team on the field.

Thaksin had a smooth first year in charge at Manchester City until removing manager Sven-Goran Eriksson earlier this month in what he admitted was a “ruthless” action after only one season. The club finished ninth in the League.

Thaksin, who was accused of human rights abuses before being ousted as Thai prime minister, would be subjected to questions relating to the Premier League’s “fit and proper person” stipulation.

While Hicks, Gillett and Thaksin have been the source of fans’ fury, Aston Villa fans have embraced Randy Lerner, who also owns the Cleveland Browns and has been invited to tell his success story.

The 13 legislators and peers also want Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho to discuss his relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. Mourinho left Chelsea last September after his relationship with the Russian billionaire deteriorated.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini have also received invitations.

AP Sports Writer Paul Logothetis contributed to this report from Neustift, Austria. (Reporting by Rob Harris)

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/soccer/2008-06-17-3268109868_x.htm
Well, I don't know what it is, but there's definitely something going on upstairs

Offline redrockydennis

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #2 on: August 9, 2008, 10:38:02 PM »
http://www.thenational.ae/article/20080809/SPORT/224514024/-1/NEWS

The National Staff

Last Updated: August 09. 2008 11:37PM UAE / August 9. 2008 7:37PM GMT DUBAI // Dubai International Capital (DIC) have made it clear they still want to buy Liverpool, as the club’s ownership battle threatens to flare up again over the proposed transfer of Gareth Barry.

Manager Rafa Benitez is reported to be at loggerheads with Liverpool’s American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett after it emerged the duo had turned down an offer of a £12million (Dh84.6m) interest-free loan to help to buy Aston Villa midfield player Barry, 27.

Benitez had waited all week for money to be put in place to allow him to end the Barry saga before he sells any more players to fund the deal. But the US owners’ failure to produce the promised short-term loan may mean the £18m transfer deal could soon be dead.

The debacle might play straight in to the hands of long-term suitors DIC who have let it be known they are still waiting in the wings with their own proposals for the club.

The investment group had a £400m offer for the Merseyside club turned down in March and a source close to DIC said: “Just because it is has been a quiet summer does not mean DIC have lost interest. They are happy that things have now become low key, and they are awaiting developments.”

There is also speculation a former prospective buyer, and several rich US-based fans, are ready to help the club out of their cash problems.

Observers believe plans for the new stadium have, as yet, not included confirmed building contracts or the lease being agreed with the local council. The club’s owners are also going to have to find cash soon to fund the stadium as well as re-finance the current loans.

But the delay over the Barry deal is beginning to embarrass Liverpool. As soon as it was suggested the owners were looking to borrow money to fund the deal, City sources – admittedly close to the DIC bid – insisted borrowing would be difficult in the current climate.

* Agencies

"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes,
of controlling the ball and of making yourself available to receive a pass.
It is terribly simple."

Offline redrockydennis

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #3 on: September 6, 2008, 11:05:47 PM »
http://www.sportingweb.co.za/sportingweb/view/sportingweb/en/page197?oid=9129&sn=Detail

Foreign ownership of Premier League clubs
Reuters
06 September 2008


An Abu Dhabi-based company bought out Manchester City from former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra signed a memorandum of understanding with the Premier League club on Monday.

The deal was struck late on Sunday between Thaksin and the Abu Dhabi group. Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment board member Sulaiman al-Fahim said Thaksin would continue at the club as an a honorary board member.

Here are some other Premier League clubs who now have foreign owners.

* ASTON VILLA - American billionaire Randy Lerner completed his takeover of Aston Villa in September 2006 for 62.6 million pounds ($122.5 million) after securing the required 90 percent of the Birmingham club's shares.

-- The Cleveland Browns owner installed himself as chairman of Villa, taking the place of Doug Ellis who stepped down after 38 years at the Midlands side.

* CHELSEA - In July 2003 Russian businessman Roman Abramovich agreed to buy the company that owned Chelsea in a deal which valued it at nearly 60 million pounds ($99.50 million).

-- Under the cash offer, Abramovich, through his English offer vehicle Chelsea Ltd, agreed to purchase 84.9 million Chelsea Village shares at 35 pence each, just over half of its entire issued share capital.

-- Abramovich has spent millions on the club since 2003 and has been rewarded with Chelsea winning successive Premier League titles and domestic cups.

* FULHAM - In 1997 Egyptian-born businessman Mohamed Al Fayed, owner of top London department store Harrods, invested 30 million pounds ($49 million) in Fulham and took over as chairman after agreeing to acquire a controlling stake.

-- With his financial backing Fulham repurchased the freehold to their Craven Cottage stadium on the banks of the river Thames in west London for an estimated 7.5 million pounds, while on the pitch they were promoted to the top-flight in 2001.

* LIVERPOOL - The 2005 European champions, seeking an injection of cash for two years to help challenge for top honours and fund a new stadium, agreed in 2006 to be taken over by U.S. sports tycoons George Gillett and Tom Hicks for 174 million pounds ($340 million).

-- The 18-times English league champions had been in talks with Dubai International Capital (DIC), but DIC dropped its bid plans when Liverpool asked for more time to consider a rival offer from Gillett. In March 2008 takeover talks involving Tom Hicks and Dubai International Capital (DIC) were terminated in March amid disagreement over who should be running the club.

-- DIC, which made a 400 million pounds ($807.6 million) bid for the Merseyside club, said it was "in advanced discussions" with Liverpool's co-owners although no agreement had been reached on price or shareholding percentage.


* MANCHESTER CITY - In July 2007 former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was hailed as an unlikely saviour when he bought the club for 81 million pounds ($146.3 million).

-- New managers Kevin Keegan and Sven-Goran Eriksson, both tried to restore the clubs fortunes, but failed. Eriksson joined the City scrapheap in June 2008 after just a season in charge. Mark Hughes was named new manager on June 4.

-- Prospective new owners, Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment, said on Monday they wanted to make Manchester City the biggest club in the Premier League.

* MANCHESTER UNITED - In August 2005, supporters were unhappy with the American tycoon, Malcolm Glazer's 790 million pounds ($1.41 billion) takeover and used the first home game where his sons Joel, Avi and Bryan, all board members, were in attendance, to make their voices heard.

-- U.S. financier Malcolm Glazer said he had raised his stake in Manchester United to over 75 percent, finally gaining full control in May 2005 of the club he had battled to acquire for more than two years.

* PORTSMOUTH - Alexandre Gaydamak acquired full control of Portsmouth in July 2006 after he bought the remaining stake from chairman Milan Mandaric.

-- Media reports suggested that Mandaric had sold his remaining shares to Gaydamak, a Russian-born French national, for about 32 million pounds ($58.46 million).

-- Gaydamak's initial investment for a 50 percent stake in the club had been reported at 15 million pounds.

-- Mandaric injected new life into Portsmouth after taking over the club in 1998, winning promotion from the second division in 2003. He has stayed on as a non-executive chairman.

* WEST HAM - In November 2006 West Ham United agreed an 85 million pounds ($161.3 million) takeover from a consortium led by Iceland Football Association president and UEFA member Eggert Magnusson.

-- Magnusson replaced Terry Brown as West Ham chairman. In Dec. 2007 Icelandic majority owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson became chairman after he bought his compatriot's five per cent stake and invested a further 30.5 million pounds ($62.31 million) into the company.
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes,
of controlling the ball and of making yourself available to receive a pass.
It is terribly simple."

Offline Fanxxxxtastic

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2008, 09:48:29 AM »
Exclusive: DIC consortium preparing new bids for Liverpool and West Ham

By James Nursey 13/09/2008

Liverpool and West Ham are braced for takeover bids this month from DIC after the Dubai consortium appointed hot-shot British businessman Robin Binks to clinch a deal.

Dubai Investment Capital, the private equity fund of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum are determined to own a Premier League club - particularly after the £200million takeover of Manchester City by Abu Dhabi United Group.

Dic, advised by London investment firm PCP, have set-up 'PCP-DIC Seven Ltd' to complete a buy-out.

Binks' first target is Liverpool but they have also since sounded out the Hammers.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/2008/09/13/exclusive-dic-consortium-preparing-new-bids-for-liverpool-and-west-ham-115875-20735336/
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Offline RedJam70

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2009, 01:06:46 PM »
Ok for those that don't want the speculation I'll try to keep this thread updated with any articles posted in the other threads. Tis what it was intended for anyway.

APRIL 14, 2009

Creditors Find Hicks Sports Group in Default

 By MATTHEW FUTTERMAN

Creditors to Texas financier Tom Hicks's Hicks Sports Group have declared the company in default, a measure that could eventually dislodge the Texas Rangers baseball club and Dallas Stars hockey franchise from his control.

The default notice is the strongest sign yet of the economic perils awaiting the country's professional sports leagues, where owners have spent lavishly on player salaries. Many owners' personal fortunes are also on the wane, creating uncomfortable standoffs between the owners and lenders.

In Mr. Hicks's case, a group of 40 financial institutions and other investors hold $525 million in debt. Galatioto Sports Partners, a New York sports-financing group, holds the largest position, having lent nearly $100 million to Hicks Sports Group.

Mr. Hicks missed a $10 million quarterly interest payment on March 31, triggering the default notice. The teams are unable to fund both their operating expenses and debt service, and Mr. Hicks has declined to continue making up the difference out of his own pocket, according to a person familiar with the matter.
[tom hicks and creditors and default] Associated Press

Tom Hicks, right, pictured with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones last April, missed a $10 million quarterly interest payment March 31.

That has angered some of the lenders -- a collection of large banks and smaller investment funds -- for whom the default notice begins a process that could put the banks in control of the teams. That won't happen for at least 180 days, however, as lenders have agreed to National Hockey League provisions that prevent immediate foreclosure. Major League Baseball's rules for such situations are more fluid, though if Hicks Sports Group can't satisfy lenders, the lenders can eventually force an MLB-sanctioned sale of the Rangers.

Mr. Hicks can fix the situation, and remain in control of the teams, by paying off his current debt or by reaching a new deal with his lenders, which he is trying to do.

A spokesman for NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman declined to comment. Bob DuPuy, chief operating officer of Major League Baseball, also declined to comment.

Relations between the Hicks Sports Group lenders and the NHL have grown increasingly testy of late, with the NHL threatening to do all it could to block a forced sale of the Stars, according to people involved in the matter.

In the meantime, Mr. Hicks is trying to fashion a deal of his own, by selling a minority stake in the Rangers and Stars. He said he plans to fund operational losses of the teams but wants the banks to cover interest payments.

"I'm confident that I'll be able to reach agreement with 51% of the lenders because I will be able to fund all the cash needs of the two teams during the period that I'm bringing in new partners, which will help us to drastically reduce if not eliminate HSG's debt," Mr. Hicks said in an interview. "These are great sports franchises and they're valuable assets and I want to make sure I have ample time to identify appropriate partners to invest at a fair value."

Mr. Hicks has been one of the most high-profile figures in professional sports, having purchased the Rangers in 1998 from a group of owners that included former President George W. Bush. Under Mr. Hicks's ownership, the Rangers signed shortstop Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year, $250 million contract. This year the Rangers' payroll is about $68 million, and is in the bottom third of MLB. The Stars, meanwhile, became the most successful of the NHL's franchises in the South, winning the Stanley Cup in 1999.

In 2004, Mr. Hicks stepped down as chairman of Hicks Muse Tate & Furst Inc., the private-equity firm that he co-founded.

Today Mr. Hicks operates Hicks Equity Partners, a private-equity arm of his investment firm. He is currently trying to close a $3.2 billion deal announced last June in which a Hicks investment vehicle would acquire a majority interest in plastic-container company Graham Packaging Holdings from the Blackstone Group.

Separately, Mr. Hicks has a $400 million loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland due in July, used to fund his purchase of the Liverpool soccer team in the English Premier League. Mr. Hicks splits ownership of the team with Colorado businessman George Gillet. To raise cash, Mr. Gillet is also moving ahead with a sale of his controlling stake in the NHL's Montreal Canadiens.

The trouble for Hicks Sports Group has been brewing for months, as the poor economy has dried up interest in sponsorships and ticket sales. Late last month, just days before the payment was due, Mr. Hicks informed the lenders he wouldn't make the payment. On April 6, the lenders found Hicks Sports Group in default.
—Peter Lattman contributed to this article.

Write to Matthew Futterman at matthew.futterman@wsj.com

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123967866588416173.html

Offline RedJam70

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2009, 11:45:05 PM »
More speculation.
=========================================================
Liverpool's future could be decided by Celine Dion
Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Liverpool co-owner George Gillett is on the brink of raising an estimated £272m from his 80 per cent interest in the Montreal Canadiens by selling them to pop star Celine Dion.

The Think Twice and Power of Love singer is one of the leading bidders hoping to snap up the National Hockey League team.

Other potential buyers including Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte and Quebec cable giant Quebecor Media.

The Bank of Montreal has signed confidentiality agreements with ten potential suitors who have until 5pm on Thursday to submit formal bids to Denver-based Gillett.

As well as buying the Canadiens, the successful bidder will acquire the Bell Center arena in Montreal and a concert promotion division.

Gillett wants the cash to strengthen his financial muscle as he prepares for another showdown with fellow Liverpool owner Tom Hicks.

Gillett is reputed to be keen to replace Hicks and is believed to be open to the idea of a new joint ownership scheme at Anfield.

But he would also be willing to stay on as a minority shareholder if investors in Dubai or Kuwait step forward and buy the Premier League club for around £450m.

http://www.metro.co.uk/sport/football/article.html?Liverpools_future_could_be_decided_by_Celine_Dion&in_article_id=619438&in_page_id=43

Offline RedJam70

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2009, 11:46:49 PM »
20 minutes ago
Is Tom Hicks On The Ropes?
Posted By:Darren Rovell
Topics:Economy (U.S.) | Economy (Global) | Sports

You probably saw the news last week. Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks, who also owns part of the Liverpool soccer club, defaulted on a $10 million payment connected to $525 million in loans.

It’s not the end of Hicks’ ownership reign, but it’s not a good sign, despite what Hicks would have you believe.

When the news broke, Hicks, who famously agreed to give Alex Rodriguez a 10-year, $252 million contract despite the fact that there weren’t teams within a sniff of that deal, played it off. He actually said that he defaulted intentionally.

While there are no immediate penalties for defaulting on a loan like this, it’s not like it hurts his personal credit rating, insiders I spoke to have said that they’ve never heard of a person doing this on purpose.

The next step in the process is for Hicks and those lending the money to sit down and negotiate a new payment schedule and perhaps a new number that needs to be owed.

The catch is that the ability of the lenders to be flexible has little to do with Hicks’ business and more to do with the still frozen credit markets.

So what happens if things can’t be worked out?

Well, the Wall Street Journal notes today that the lenders have agreed not to take control of the Dallas Stars for at least six months, abiding with the National Hockey League provisions that protect a team from immediately going into foreclosure.

So the immediate solution for Hicks is to sell pieces of his teams to raise enough cash to remain the owner or eventually just hand them over to the banks. But, trust me, the banks don’t want the teams. They want the money.

Hicks’ greatest problem might be his inability to accept reality. In mentioning that he’s ready to sell parts of his teams, he has mentioned selling a 49 percent stake, so that he can raise money while still maintaining his majority ownership position.

Not only has the value of his teams probably dropped at least 25 percent because of the marketplace, but the person who is buying has to have more cash than ever before. And someone who doesn’t have a sports team who is going to buy now is going to want majority ownership, if not immediately upon purchase, within a couple years.

The other way it could shake down is if either of the leagues decide to buy the teams for a reasonable price, hoping that they could flip it around when the economy clears up a bit. This actually last worked when Major League Baseball flipped the Montreal Expos and turned them into the Washington Nationals. But in order for the league to buy a team, they have to make sure that contraction is off the table.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/30211713

Offline electricghost

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2009, 10:13:42 AM »
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/liverpool/5155151/Liverpool-owner-Tom-Hicks-feels-pressure-over-American-sports-debts.html

Liverpool owner Tom Hicks feels pressure over American sports debts
Creditors of Liverpool owner Tom Hicks have formally declared his company Hicks Sports Group in default on debts of $525 million (£351million). The figure was raised against his American sports interests the Dallas Stars ice hockey franchise and the Texas Rangers baseball team.
 

By Paul Kelso
Last Updated: 7:43AM BST 15 Apr 2009
Liverpool owner Tom Hicks feels pressure over American sports debts
Crunched? Tom Hicks (r) and son Foster at Anfield in February Photo: PA

Hicks, who maintains that his American interests are entirely separate from his 50 per cent holding in Liverpool, was formally served with a default notice last week after missing a $10 million quarterly interest payment due on the loans.

The Texan financier is seeking to renegotiate the terms of the loans with a consortium of more than 40 banks led by Galatioto Sports Partners, a New York sports financing group that has lent HSG nearly $100 million.
 
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Hicks insists that his decision to miss the payment is a negotiating tactic designed to force the banks to renegotiate in the light of the credit crisis.

The default notice signals the possibility that Hicks could ultimately lose control of the Stars and the Rangers, but a source close to Hicks said that would require the co-operation of National Hockey League and Major League Baseball commissioners, and that they were both supportive of the owner.

Hick's issues in the United States will raise further concern among Liverpool supporters about the club's future. Hicks and co-owner George Gillett are in negotiations with Royal Bank of Scotland over extending a £350 million loan secured in part against the club that comes up in July.

The pair are searching for a third-party investor willing to take a share in the club and help pay down the debt.

Hicks said he would continue to cover the cash needs of the two American franchises going forward while searching for fresh investors, but that he would not make interest payments until the banks come to the table.

"I'm confident that I'll be able to reach agreement with 51 per cent of the lenders because I will be able to fund all the cash needs of the two teams during the period that I'm bringing in new partners, which will help us to drastically reduce if not eliminate HSG's debt,'' Hicks told the Wall Street Journal.
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Offline RedJam70

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2009, 10:12:19 AM »
Gillett seeking $400 million investment
OTTAWA, April 18 (Reuters) - American George Gillett is seeking a partner willing to invest $400 million into a sporting empire that includes Liverpool soccer club and the Montreal Canadiens NHL team, a newspaper said on Saturday.

The French-language La Presse, citing sources involved with the proposed sale of the Canadiens, said such an investment would enable the financially-pressed businessman to hold on to the teams.

La Presse said Gillett had proposed to several business executives that they invest $400 million and
become a junior partner, but had generated little interest so far.

Gillett said last month that he had hired a team of advisors to look at his assets and denied media reports he wanted to sell some of them.

"My family and I regard this possibility as the last resort. We are a lot more interested in some kind of (business) association than in the sale of the Montreal Canadiens or one of our other enterprises," Gillett told the newspaper on Friday.

Gillett owns 80.1 percent of the Canadiens and 50 percent of five-times European champions Liverpool.

Canadian media last week said would-be buyers were being asked to submit formal offers for the Canadiens and several groups had signed confidentiality agreements with the Bank of Montreal's investment banking arm.

Gillett declined to comment on the reports, saying the banking arm had yet to complete its work.


http://football.uk.reuters.com/uk/news/N18354020.php?rpc=401&


Offline electricghost

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2009, 09:05:31 PM »
http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/stories/2009/04/20/daily10.html

Monday, April 20, 2009, 2:04pm CDT
Hicks Sports Group's problems date to last summer
Dallas Business Journal - by Daniel Kaplan SportsBusiness Journal

A federal bank regulator last summer, before the credit markets imploded, downgraded the $515 million of debt carried by Hicks Sports Group, which owns the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars, financial sources said, signaling that the problems at the financially troubled company predated last month’s loan default.

HSG failed to make an interest payment on March 31. While tight credit markets are a major factor in the inability of team owner Tom Hicks to get banks to relax loan terms, HSG’s problems were festering before the economy tanked last fall, the financial sources said.
 
Last summer, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency downgraded the loans to nonperforming, sources in the HSG bank group said. The OCC conducts periodic reviews of syndicated loans on bank balance sheets, known as Shared National Credits.The OCC declined a Freedom of Information Act request by this publication to see the downgrade, saying loan actions were not public information. A Hicks spokesman declined to comment on the downgrade.

An OCC downgrade to nonperforming means “the borrower is highly unlikely to support the underlying obligation,” said Irwin Kishner, chairman of the corporate practice at New York-based law firm Herrick Feinstein. As part of its mandate to regulate banks, Kishner said, the OCC reviews loans at banks and, as with the case of HSG, can judge them to be in trouble. That means the banks in the syndicate have to set aside more cash to cover potential losses.

Hicks has been funding operating losses for HSG’s teams out of his own pocket at least since the summer and likely far longer. Like many wealthy owners, the stock market declines have eaten into his fortunes and have made him more reticent to continue covering his teams’ red ink.

In a statement, Hicks said he voluntarily missed the interest payment to force the lenders to allow him to tap an interest reserve and to modify covenants.

Already having had to set aside cash because of the OCC downgrade, twinned with the clenched credit markets, the banks are unlikely to greet Hicks’ pleas for leniency with much sympathy.

“It’s one of the more foolish moves I have ever seen,” said one banker from a bank in the loan group who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak, of Hicks voluntarily defaulting on the loan.

Financial institutions in the syndicate include JPMorgan Chase and Galatioto Sports Partners. A spokesman for JPMorgan did not return calls. GSP declined to comment.

One banker not in the bank group suggested that what Hicks might be trying to do is force the banks to sell the loans at a discount, and he could then swoop in to buy them. But Hicks also has nearly half of each of the Rangers and Stars on the market and may be just trying to buy time to raise the money to pay off the debt.

Hicks’ half-ownership of Liverpool FC is not housed in HSG.

At the end of the month, the banks could move to foreclose on the teams if they do not reach agreement with Hicks. To do so, however, would require going through the leagues, which historically have been opposed to banks taking possession of teams.

The NHL referred questions to the Stars. MLB executives declined to comment.
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Offline electricghost

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2009, 10:23:02 PM »
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/premier_league/liverpool/article6150124.ece

From The Times
April 23, 2009
Owners in united states of mind to keep Liverpool
Oliver Kay

Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr, Liverpool’s American owners, have pledged to work together to battle through the financial crisis that has raised serious doubts about the ability of either of them to raise the funds to retain control of the club.

Hicks and Gillett are under growing pressure to refinance the club’s £350 million loans with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Wachovia, the American bank, before they are due to be repaid on July 25. In a rare show of unity, the Americans entertained representatives of RBS at Liverpool’s 4-4 draw against Arsenal at Anfield on Tuesday evening and attempted to persuade their guests that their differences are behind them as they look to sustain their troubled regime beyond July.

A refinancing agreement would give Hicks and Gillett some stability, at least in the short term, but both are under growing financial pressure. Gillett is looking for an external investor to buy into his sporting empire, which includes the Montreal Canadiens ice hockey franchise as well as his 50 per cent stake in Liverpool, while Hicks, who has been more bullish about his financial position, was forced to admit recently that his Hicks Sports Group had defaulted on monthly interest payments on three loans as he, too, battles with the consequences of the economic crisis.

A change of ownership still appears the most likely scenario in the medium term. Although Hicks continues to make overtures to the al-Kharafi family, either to be minority investors or to buy the club in case he and Gillett fail to raise the capital needed to refinance, doubts remain about how genuine the Kuwaitis’ interest is. A renewed bid from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, remains a possibility, though not at this stage.
Related Links

    * Arshavin gives United title edge

    * Liverpool left with a mountain to climb

    * Benitez's silence speaks volumes

Whichever way the ownership issue is resolved over the coming months, there seems certain to be a return to Liverpool for Kenny Dalglish, the most celebrated player in the club’s history.

Dalglish, who resigned as Liverpool manager in February 1991, has been out of football for almost nine years, but is discussing a return to Anfield in a consultancy role in which he would work closely with Rafael Benítez, the manager, and act as a figurehead for the club’s youth academy.

“If I can be of help to the club I love, in any capacity, I’m more than happy to play any part I can,” Dalglish, 58, said. “If the manager or the people running the club think there’s a role for me, I’ll fill it happily.”
“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
― Steven Weinberg

Offline RedJam70

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2009, 08:37:54 AM »
Quote
Habs sale could lighten Gillett's debt load
 Article  Comments (1)  ANDREW WILLIS AND BOYD ERMAN

From Friday's Globe and Mail

April 24, 2009 at 1:57 AM EDT

The Habs nation stretches from sea to sea to sea. But as George Gillett ponders the fate of his sports empire, he is more interested in building a Liverpool FC franchise that could attract a global fan base than in holding on to the Montreal Canadiens.

As the Canadiens begin what is expected to be a tumultuous off-season, their owner faces hard decisions on how to finance his share of a planned new stadium for the English soccer team that Gillett co-owns with fellow sports magnate Tom Hicks. The pair must come up with an estimated $550-million to pay for a new, 71,000-seat stadium in Liverpool, while at the same time keeping bankers happy.

As potential buyers circle the Canadiens and the Bell Centre arena — there are reportedly at least four interested groups, two from outside Quebec — sources close to Gillett say that, by this summer, he is likely to sell the Montreal franchise he purchased in 2001 and focus his attention on Liverpool.

And while Gillett has consistently said any deal involving the storied NHL franchise and the Bell Centre will be based on "estate planning," financial sources say the 70-year-old entrepreneur faces a financial squeeze, and is being pressed by his banks to pay down personal debts.

 "The best asset to save is Liverpool, because there's probably more upside to Liverpool than any other sports franchise on the planet," said one executive familiar with Gillett's business affairs. "It is an incredible asset with fans all over the world, and it really hasn't been commercialized the way Manchester United has been, let alone the way we commercialize things in North America."

Forbes magazine pegs Manchester United as the world's most valuable sports franchise, at $1.9-billion (all currency U.S., unless noted). Liverpool ranks as the No. 5 soccer side, worth an estimated $1-billion.

"George's holdings are like his children, he'd be reluctant to give anything up, but the Canadiens are the easiest franchise to sell," said another source working with a group that is bidding for the team. Hicks, owner of the NHL's Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers baseball team, is attempting to rework his own finances, and failed to make interest payments on loans last week as part of a stare-down with bankers.

There are at least two Quebec-based groups interested in the Canadiens and their arena. There is a loose consortium of bidders that includes Quebecor Inc. boss Pierre Karl Péladeau and the cheese-making Saputo family, and a second group fronted by Serge Savard, former general manager of the team.

Quebec and Montreal politicians are being pitched on a plan to give an edge to local buyers by offering property tax concessions on the Bell Centre, tax breaks that Gillett has unsuccessfully sought in the past.

In addition, sources say the franchise has attracted the interest of at least two out-of-province bidders, one from Ontario, another from the United States. None of these owners contemplate moving the team.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090424.wspthabs23/GSStory/GlobeSportsHockey/home/

Offline RedJam70

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2009, 08:39:11 AM »
Liverpool owners meet with bank officials
24 Apr, 09 | England | Clubs ownership & management

Tags: liverpool |
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 According to reports, George Gillett and Tom Hicks attended a bank meeting earlier this week, to discuss the GBP 350 million loan due to expire in just three short months.

As noted by the Daily Express, English Liverpool owners met with representatives from the Royal Bank of Scotland a couple of days ago, talking business from the Anfield stadium grounds.

While Gillett and Hicks have been hoping to renegotiate the terms of the loan, sources suggest that the Royal Bank will request further investment from the American pair. Economic circumstances will no doubt have some bearing on the path Gillett and Hicks choose to take, should the bank make such a demand.

Gillett and Hicks have been placed under scrutiny for quite some time, with a possible takeover lurking in the shadows for several months now. With the economy putting pressure on a few of Gillett’s assets, rumours have indicated that the businessman may even be forced to opt out of his share of the Montreal Canadiens.

Also present in the director’s box during the meeting was English manager Stuart Pearce, who was visiting Anfield stadium as a scout. With immaculate timing, England’s own Theo Walcott played a great game in Pearce’s presence, a move that may very well pay off down the road
 
http://www.eufootball.biz/Clubs/7021-liverpool_gillett_hicks_meet_bank_officials.html

Offline RedJam70

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2009, 08:34:33 AM »
Quote
Liverpool owners deny talks over Indian investment
Sources close to Tom Hicks insist Liverpool are not in discussions with the Indian billionaire Grandhi Mallikarjun Rao’s GMR group over either investing in the club or buying out the Texan and his co-owner, George Gillett.
 
By Rory Smith
Last Updated: 7:43AM BST 27 Apr 2009

A representative of the group, which owns the Delhi Daredevils IPL franchise, was present in the directors’ box for last Tuesday’s 4-4 draw with Arsenal but it is believed no talks have been held over possible investment in Liverpool.

Hicks and Gillett are due to repay a £350 million loan from RBS and the US bank Wachovia in July and are thought to have been in constant dialogue with both banks since January over ways to manage the debt, which include putting more personal equity into the club or paying off a slice of the loan.

Both men are looking for minority investors in their sports franchises, but have struggled to raise interest in the current climate, while City sources suggest any party able to finance a takeover at Anfield is likely to wait until the July deadline is imminent to ensure the best possible price.

Hicks, who has said he is looking for new partners to invest in Liverpool from the Middle East, and Gillett have been assessing their personal financial situations amid the global economic crisis.

Both men were at Anfield last week to watch the 4-4 draw with Arsenal, a game also attended by Amanda Staveley, who was the chief negotiator for last year's failed takeover bid by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Staveley negotiated the Abu Dhabi United Group's buyout of Manchester City in September.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/liverpool/5226531/Liverpool-owners-deny-talks-over-Indian-investment.html

Offline RedJam70

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2009, 11:05:51 PM »
PHOENIX COYOTES
Hockey's bonfire of the bankruptcies

Coyotes win court ruling over prospective sale; Could Dallas Stars be next up for Chapter 11?
May 12, 2009 04:30 AM

Kevin McGran

While the Phoenix Coyotes turned up the heat on the NHL yesterday, the owner of the Dallas Stars appears to be laying enough kindling and timber to start another bankruptcy bonfire.

The Coyotes won a court ruling that will force the NHL to tell all it knows about White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf's mysterious bid to purchase the Coyotes to a Phoenix bankruptcy court judge.

The NHL must produce all documents related to Reinsdorf's bid today, ruled judge Redfield Baum.

The league has said it was close to announcing Reinsdorf as a white knight who would keep the team in Glendale, Ariz., when Jerry Moyes thrust the Coyotes into bankruptcy. The Moyes camp wants to see how good the offer was.

"The purpose of the production is to examine the content of those discussions and the potential offer outstanding by Mr. Reinsdorf related to these purported interests," read the motion filed by Moyes lawyer Thomas Salerno.

Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie has made a $212.5 million (all figures U.S.) offer to purchase the Coyotes and move them to Hamilton as part of the franchise's bankruptcy proceedings that are being challenged by the NHL.

But Phoenix is only one of the many franchises in trouble during the recession.

Tom Hicks, who owns the Dallas Stars and baseball's Texas Rangers, defaulted a month ago on $525 million in loans tied to the teams, starting the clock ticking in a showdown with lenders that could see the Stars end up in bankruptcy proceedings in October.

At the time, Hicks said he was trying to work out a new deal with his creditors, and perhaps bring in new investors, but has been mum on the situation since. Dallas Stars president Jeff Cogen referred calls to a public relations firm, which said there was "nothing" to report.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly did not respond to an email. A group of 40 financial institutions and other investors hold the debt in Hicks Sports Group, which owns the two teams. It would take 180 days for lenders to foreclose on defaulted loans, according the standard deals involving the NHL.

That gives Hicks another five months to find alternate financing, but lenders are tight with their money these days, and those who follow sports financing closely worry it's inevitable that the Stars will follow the Coyotes into bankruptcy.

"He's heading in the same direction," said a broker specializing in sports financing, who didn't want his name used because of his dealings with the NHL.

"It could be the second team in Chapter 11," said Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College, who specializes in sports business. "When Hicks put himself in that circumstance, he's creating a lot of difficulty for himself. He's going to squirm a little bit. Whatever leverage he had, he loses some of it.

"You go to your creditors and try to re-organize your loans," added Zimbalist. "(If) they say no deal, you can declare bankruptcy or sell the franchise or go to other banks and borrow more money."

Hicks also co-owns Liverpool, a soccer team in England's Premier League, another franchise looking for new ownership. His holdings in Liverpool – shared with Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett –are outside Hicks Sports Group.

None involved believe the Stars are in danger of moving. Dallas is believed to be a strong market with the team able to turn a profit, especially if it makes the playoffs.

It's been a bad year for bankruptcies and the NHL. William (Boots) Del Biaggio faces jail time after having been found guilty of fraud for the way he helped finance his minority purchase of the Nashville Predators.

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Thrashers owners are fighting with each other, Tampa is looking for new investors and the New York Islanders are hinting at leaving unless they get a new arena.

"There could be other (bankrupt) teams down the road," said Zimbalist. "There are a lot of teams – as it were – skating on thin ice."

http://www.thestar.com/sports/article/632760

Offline RedJam70

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2009, 11:07:11 PM »
League to Gillett: quiet, please

ANDREW WILLIS

Globe and Mail Update

May 12, 2009 at 1:38 PM EDT

TORONTO — When speculation on the ownership of the Montreal Canadiens began to overshadow coverage of the team's playoff series against the Boston Bruins, NHL brass sent a message to Habs owner George Gillett.

Try to turn down the volume on speculation on who might buy the storied franchise, National Hockey League executives told Gillett, according to investment bankers working on bids for the team and its home, the Bell Centres. NHL officials didn't want business stories, including speculation on a sale to new owners from outside Quebec, diverting interest from playoff hockey.

Gillett, already upset with media reports on his personal finances, was glad to comply. Financial advisers were told to keep quiet. Lists of potential buyers for the team dropped out of the headlines, while the Canadiens dropped out of the Stanley Cup tournament, bowing out to Boston.

The NHL was less successful at keeping fans focused on hockey, as Research In Motion billionaire Jim Balsillie's pursuit of the Phoenix Coyotes now dominates Canadian coverage of the league.

However, banking sources say buyers continue to circle the Canadians, and Gillett remains committed to a timetable that could see a sale announced by the end of June, ahead of the NHL draft. The investment dealer arm of Bank of Montreal is running the auction for the 70-year-old Gillett, who refers to the process as “estate planning.”

“There is a real sense that the field is tilted towards a Quebec buyer for the Canadiens,” said one banker working with a bidder for the team.

Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand said last week that the province would be willing to lend up to $100-million to a buyer, with the team expected to fetch between $400-million and $450-million.

The leading contender for the Canadiens is said to be one or all members of a group of wealthy Montreal figures that include the Saputo family, which owns the country's largest cheese maker, media kingpin Pierre Karl Péladeau, Stephen Bronfman and singer Celine Dion. Sources say a second Quebec group, fronted by former Habs general manager Serge Savard, is running a distant second.

There is also an interested consortium of bidders based in Ontario, and a possible buyer from the United States. All these bidders plan to keep the team in Montreal. The Bell Centre and the Canadiens make up one of the most profitable franchises in the NHL.

http://sports.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090512.wspthabs0512/GSStory/GlobeSports/home



Offline HarryLabrador

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2009, 11:14:08 PM »
Hicks Acquisition Company I, Inc. Announces Public Filing and Listing Information

DALLAS, May 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Hicks Acquisition Company I, Inc. (NYSE: TOH) (AMEX: TOH) (the "Company") today made the following announcements.

Filing of Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q

The Company has filed its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the quarter ending March 31, 2009. The Company's stockholders may obtain copies of its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, free of charge, at the SEC's website (www.sec.gov) or by directing a request to the Company at 100 Crescent Court, Suite 1200, Dallas, Texas 75201 or by contacting the Company at (214) 615-2300.

Going Concern Opinion

In compliance with the NYSE Amex Company Guide Rule 610(b), which requires a public announcement of the receipt of an audit opinion containing a going-concern qualification, the Company also announced today that the Company's consolidated financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008, included in its Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, contained a going-concern qualification from its auditors. This qualification announcement does not reflect any change or amendment to the financial statements, as filed in its Annual Report on Form 10-K. This qualification is due to the requirement the Company must consummate a business combination by September 28, 2009 or be dissolved, as further discussed in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K. This factor and the Company's declining cash available for release from its trust account to fund the Company's working capital requirements raise substantial doubt about the Company's ability to continue as a going concern. The Company's current liquidity is most recently discussed in the Company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.

Annual Stockholder Meeting

As previously announced, on February 10, 2009, the Company had received notice from the NYSE Amex LLC (the "Exchange" or "NYSE Amex") staff indicating that the Company was not in compliance with the annual stockholder meeting requirements of Section 704 of the NYSE Amex Company Guide, because the Company did not hold an annual stockholders meeting during the year ended December 31, 2008. The Company was afforded the opportunity to submit a plan of compliance to the Exchange and on March 5, 2009 presented its plan to the Exchange, which included a proposed extension until September 28, 2009 to regain compliance with the continued listing standards.

On May 11, 2009 the Exchange notified the Company that it accepted the Company's plan of compliance but granted the Company an extension until August 11, 2009 (in lieu of the requested September 28, 2009 extension) to regain compliance with the continued listing standards. The Company will be required to provide the Exchange staff with updates in conjunction with the initiatives of the plan as appropriate or upon request of the Exchange and the Company will be subject to periodic review by the Exchange staff during the extension period. Failure to make progress consistent with the plan or to regain compliance with the continued listing standards by the end of the extension period could result in the Company being delisted from the Exchange.

About Hicks Acquisition Company I, Inc.

The Company is a special purpose acquisition company, launched in October 2007 in an initial public offering that was at the time, at $552 million of gross proceeds, the largest SPAC IPO. Founded by Thomas O. Hicks, the Company was formed for the purpose of acquiring, or acquiring control of, through a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganization or similar business combination, one or more businesses or assets. It currently has no operating businesses.

Information Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "expect," "estimate," "project," "budget," "forecast," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "may," "will," "could," "should," "contemplate," "believes," "predicts," "potential," "continue," and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this press release include matters that involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to differ materially from results expressed or implied by this press release. The Company has no intention, and disclaims any obligation, to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future results or otherwise. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the most recently ended fiscal year. Risk factors may be updated in Item 1A in each of the Company's Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for each quarterly period subsequent to the Company's most recent Form 10-K. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

    Contacts
    Mark Semer or Joseph Kuo
    Kekst and Company
    212 521 4800

http://sev.prnewswire.com/banking-financial-services/20090512/NY1564112052009-1.html
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Offline HarryLabrador

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2009, 10:38:51 AM »
Acquisition firm launched by Hicks may have to dissolve by September
By ANDREA AHLES
aahles@star-telegram.com

Hicks Acquisition Co. I, a firm launched in 2007 by Dallas financier Tom Hicks, may have to dissolve by September if it does not complete any purchases, according to a filing made Tuesday.

The firm, whose shares (ticker: TOH) trade on NYSE Amex, raised $552 million with an initial public offering. It previously had announced that it would buy Graham Packaging but has not completed the deal.

The filing said the firm has until Sept. 28 to close the acquisition.

Hicks Acquisition is a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. SPACs are created to raise money to buy other businesses.

If a SPAC does not consummate any deals within a specified time, the firm is dissolved and the money is returned to shareholders, according to securities rules.

Hicks Acquisition Co. I sold 55.2 million shares at $10 a share in its initial public offering. Its shares closed Tuesday at $9.54.

In the Tuesday filing, the firm also said it was not in compliance with the annual stockholder meeting requirements of NYSE Amex because it did not hold an annual meeting last year.

The exchange has given the firm until Aug. 11 to become compliant with the listing requirements.
ANDREA AHLES, 817-390-7631

http://www.star-telegram.com/business/story/1373491.html
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Offline robbohuyton

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #19 on: November 2, 2009, 01:43:52 PM »
FOR fans arriving outside the Liverpool Supporters Club on Lower Breck Road more than two hours before kick-off in a crucial Premier League match with arch-rivals Manchester United, it was simple.

Tom Hicks and George Gillett have shown in their nigh on three-years in charge at Anfield that they are more interested in the green of the dollar than the red of Liverpool Football Club.

To them, it’s not a sporting heritage, a club with passionate, loyal fans – it’s an asset, a vehicle to make money. A brand, as Hicks said, “Like Weetabix.”

Broken promises, lies and approaching a manager behind boss Rafa Benitez’s back have long since convinced the thousands on the Spirit of Shankly (SOS) protest march that these two Texan tycoons are not the men to put Liverpool back on their perch.

What amazes the marchers, most signed up to the country’s first football supporters’ union in the shape of SOS, is the 40,000 fans turning up for the game that shrug their shoulders at the off-field soap opera – supporters happy to watch from the stands in the here and now, but seemingly uncaring when it comes to the future of the club.

For 20 years, Liverpool FC has fallen short of where its fans think it should be on the pitch - winning the league. Off the pitch, it’s a similar story.

The big boys got bigger, stadiums grew, wages spiralled, transfer fees boomed. It became clear Liverpool needed change in the boardroom to compete.

A landlocked stadium, failure to follow the commercial lead of rivals and not capitalising on successes in a marketing sense (notably the 2005 Champions League win) meant Liverpool were struggling to keep up with the financial pacesetters.

So in stepped George Gillett and Tom Hicks - collectively worth over a thousand million pounds when they took over the Anfield reins from David Moores.

They promised a new stadium and new players. They would be, Liverpool fans hoped, the catalyst for a revival.

Back then, at the start of 2007, LFC shareholders were told: “Kop Football Limited (the American pair’s bid vehicle) has indicated that it is committed to an annual budget for player transfers and is able to supplement this should Liverpool’s management and Kop agree additional funds are required.”

The then Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry later said: "It has always been the aim of the club, with the backing of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, to be world class both on and off the pitch.”

How would that be achieved fans wondered? Don’t worry, was the message, it won't be like the much-maligned Malcolm Glazer and family at Manchester United.

The Independent said in February 2007:

“Gillett is a serious investor with a good track record,” a source in his camp said. Since his 1990s downfall (Well Red: When he was made bankrupt), the American has rebuilt his empire and is estimated to have a personal fortune of £440m.

Gillett has not made public how he intends to pay for his proposed £170m buyout, write off debts of £80m, pay for a £200m new stadium or fund transfers. “But if you're asking whether this a majorly debt-driven venture, then no,” the source claimed. “It is not a Glazer-type deal.”

Gillett himself added: “We have purchased the club with no debt on the club so, in that regard, it is different [to the Glazers]. We believe in the future of the club, the future of the league, the new TV contracts are outstanding and we are proud to be a part of it.”

The Glazer family borrowed heavily to buy Manchester United and have since heaped £660m of debt liability directly on to United’s books.

Liverpool was £40m in debt when Hicks and Gillett took the reins. Now that debt is approaching £300m.

So in fact, no different to the Glazers. But is the club now world class?

Well, under Rafa Benitez Liverpool have never missed out on Champions League qualification. The one season a top-four finish wasn't secured, Benitez won the European Cup. So on the pitch, arguably it is. But is that in spite of the owners rather than because of them?

Off  the pitch? Without the promised stadium, Liverpool loses out to the tune of £3million per home game to Manchester United. That's £100m a season. Or three players of the quality of Fernando Torres – per season.

Arsenal with 7,000 premium seats in the 60,000 Emirates, generated £94.6m last season. Chelsea brought in £74.5m, £25m more than the £39.2m generated at Anfield.

Players? Undoubtedly money has been spent. It would not be in the interest of the co-owners to completely run down the club. But they’re clearly happy with a top four finish – because the big bucks just haven’t been there.

Gillett claimed: “We’ve spent £128 million on top of what’s come in over the past 18 months to buy players.”

Benitez’s net spend in that time has been around £20m.

Ask yourself, how many times have Liverpool bid in the region of £30m for a genuinely world-class player since Hicks and Gillett have been at the helm?

And why doesn’t the club offer the wages Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, or now, Manchester City offer?

Under the ownership of Hicks and Gillett, Liverpool is going nowhere fast. It is ticking along, doing OK, while the co-owners wait for the right time to sell up and pocket the profits – their intention from day one.

Yet some so-called fans can't see it. They don't get it. They stop, stare and point at protestors. Film it on their mobile phones. But don't join in.

Maybe all the spin and business talk is too much for some. Well that’s great news for Hicks and Gillett – apathy is their ally.

Or maybe the naysayers are just buying the PR spin.

Maybe they believe transfer budgets have always included contract renewals and improvements.

Maybe they believe the credit crunch has stopped the stadium being built.

And maybe they believe auditors doubting Liverpool FC's ability to "continue as a going concern" because of soaring interest payments piled on the club by Hicks and Gillett is just "accountancy speak".

Maybe they think securing a £20m-a-year shirt sponsorship is some kind of genius - rather than an obvious step for a club with a worldwide fanbase of millions of supporters.

Maybe they don’t realise that improving marketing and sponsorship is offset by having to find £30-40m a year to pay interest on the debts Hicks and Gillett created.

Maybe these fans will still ignore the protests and mock from a distance when the club starts to sell star players. Or when transfer budgets – already slim - get further eaten up by interest payments.

Maybe they have forgotten Gillett telling Liverpool: “I don’t think that we come with any plan other than to support him (Benitez) in winning.”

Or what about: “If Rafa said he wanted to buy Snoogy Doogy, we would back him.”

But they won’t back him if he wants to buy Gareth Barry.

They won’t dip into their personal fortunes to improve the defence by signing young, proven quality like Ryan Shawcross or Michael Turner instead of an ageing Greek international.

They don't care about the club, or the fans. They are not football men. Money, and money alone, gets them out of bed in the morning.

The credit crunch is just a convenient excuse for the lack of action on the stadium. If it isn’t, why did Hicks say the following in January 2008 (five months after the commonly accepted start date for the credit crunch):

“With the refinancing process now done, club supporters can look forward to the timely commencement of construction work on the new stadium and renew their focus on actions on the pitch."

A month before Parry had told fans:

“The situation in the credit markets has not affected our design, programme, or implementation of building our new stadium. The priority has always been to build a winning team on the pitch and everything else we do is geared towards that."

And yet now, all of sudden, it is feasible for a project key to the future competitiveness of Liverpool FC, to be dismissed because of the credit crunch without question?

It’s OK though, says Gillett, the club debt situation is “very sound” and “Liverpool is in an extraordinarily good financial position."

That’s why you are donning a Liverpool tie and jetting all over the world, hawking the club to men with deep pockets, is it George?

Liverpool FC paid £36.5m in interest on their debts in the financial year ending 31 July 2008.

This is in spite of the announcement of a record turnover of £159.1m and a pre-tax profit of £30.2m.

In spite of Liverpool trousering around £20m a season from the Champions League.

In spite of 12 months of increasing turnover and a 60 per cent rise in TV income.

Put simply, if Hicks and Gillett, who have claimed more than £1m in expenses from LFC’s holding company, are the goodies and Spirit of Shankly and like-minded fans are the baddies, why don’t the Americans come out and tell fans what they have got so wrong?

If they laugh at fans’ small mindedness, open-mouthed in disbelief that they are the target for such vitriol, communicate, put us right. Prove to us you are doing a great job.

Some questioned the pre-Manchester United match march as taking away from the support inside the ground for such a crucial game.

Support the team, they said.

That's exactly what the march is all about - the team, the club, the future. That’s why thousands turned up two hours early to pound the pavements around Anfield.

People on the march would rather see the team be improved than have a second club shop at the Liverpool One shopping centre. And they'd rather see the team do well than have to pay to join the “All Red” membership scheme just to have the chance of a match ticket.

What would Gillett and Hicks rather have - team success or profit? Well Hicks is also owner of Major League Baseball side Texas Rangers.

And as one fan said on their forum:

“So, Hicks is being accused as being a double-talker who is reducing the club to mediocrity while he sells tickets to terminally loyal fans and makes a profit. Sound familiar?"

http://robbohuyton.blogspot.com/2009/11/hicks-gillett-love-green-of-dollar-more.html

Offline Liverbird 2010

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2010, 09:50:52 PM »
Oh fuckinell, how old are you? Grow up.
FOOTBALL IS A LIE! RAFAEL BENITEZ :-)

Offline koptasticboy

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2010, 09:52:56 PM »
Myself and a few thousand same thoughts in the kop lastnight, we want him out and a lot more do to, were sick of him
"Hes fat, Hes round, Shags Hoares for forty pound"
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Offline lcjpm01

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2010, 10:22:29 PM »
Myself and a few thousand same thoughts in the kop lastnight, we want him out and a lot more do to, were sick of him
I am sure their are a few 1000 on the Kop who want Rafa out but still most once the knee stops jerking want him to stay.  Hopefully most even ones who do want him out won't resort to using a shithouse tactic such as facebook.

Offline alex.

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2010, 02:25:01 PM »
Myself and a few thousand same thoughts in the kop lastnight, we want him out and a lot more do to, were sick of him
Reported for bellendry

Offline No666

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2010, 02:28:54 PM »
Not to mention total irrelevance to the topic.

Offline alett

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Re: Off Pitch articles thread
« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2010, 04:14:51 PM »
Sorry mods had no idea where to post this, remove/move if needed. Might not be interesting for everyone but since we're all legal experts now I figured it would be worth posting. It's a story from a first year trainee at Freshfields who worked with the sale:

http://l2b.thelawyer.com/liverpool-fc-takeover-a-trainees-story/1005897.article

Liverpool FC takeover: a trainee's story
25 October 2010

“Liverpool Football Club has been sold” – this announcement from a Freshfields partner marked the end of my sixth week as a new trainee in the banking team at Freshfields.

On my first day, my supervisor had explained that he was involved in the firm’s ongoing work advising RBS on the financing for the club and its holding company Kop Football.  He’d promised to get me involved but I could never have imagined the reality – an exhilarating whirlwind of a deal involving long hours, runs to the High Court, worrying about Texan judges and eventually the sale to New England Sports Ventures.

The deadline for the repayment of Kop Football’s existing debt was 15 October 2010. Something had to happen before then, only this was certain.  Meanwhile, we had to plan for all possible outcomes, without knowing which course of action would be followed. Maintaining the confidentiality of the deal was essential but difficult, particularly when it came to friends discussing the story based on what they had gleaned from the media.  It seemed like everyone was talking about the deal but it was only afterwards that I could, with pride, tell people that I had been at the centre of it all.

The litigation between RBS and the then owners, Mr. Hicks and Mr. Gillett, was one aspect of the deal which was firmly in the public domain.  Never had the classic trainee task of legal research felt so crucial as when I was investigating the legality of the changes to the board of directors of Kop Football that the owners had purported to make; an issue we would be contesting in the High Court the very next day.  We had to remain focussed and continue preparations that day on the assumption that we would win the case, whilst attempting to make sense of the barrage of real time Tweets and blogs from journalists in the courtroom (despite signs ordering all phones to be switched off…).  I got to have my moment at the courts when I was asked to “run” down with papers that had only just arrived but were urgently needed by the Freshfields team.  Having taken the instruction to run literally, I arrived at court huffing and puffing.  Luckily the hordes of photographers didn’t look twice.  On my return it was bizarre to read on the Guardian’s “minute-by-minute blog” that those documents were now being discussed in court.

The favourable outcome in court, including the anti-suit injunction granted against the owners at RBS’ request following the proceedings brought by the owners in Texas, was a huge relief.  However, the rumours and speculation continued – would the sale to NESV be completed or would Kop Football’s debt be repaid at the eleventh hour? Staying motivated was never a problem since I knew that the contracts I was scrutinising could need to be signed by the directors at very short notice.   

Predictably, it was on 15 October that we packed up our carefully drafted documents and battled through the photographers to get to the proposed signing.  The buzz in the offices was incredible.  We were still unsure what the outcome of the final discussions would be, but we had to set up as if this were a normal transaction with closing expected to happen at a pre-arranged time.  Once we had confirmation that the sale to NESV would proceed, our priority was to ensure all the documents were executed correctly before press announcements were made.  We managed to get everything signed by the relevant parties in less than five minutes whilst John Henry prepared to meet the assembled crowd of journalists and fans.

It felt unreal to be part of such a headline grabbing transaction.  Working in such close contact with a number of highly regarded lawyers in the field was an invaluable experience and I now feel better equipped to continue on the steep learning curve every trainee faces.  The result was fantastic, and after all our hard work we felt our celebratory champagne was well deserved.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2010, 04:29:35 PM by alett »
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