Financially challenged Liverpool Football Club may soon become debt free, but not without a fight. Its American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, oppose their own board’s decision to sell to another U.S. concern, John Henry’s New England Sports Ventures (NESV), on the grounds that the takeover deal “dramatically undervalues the club” and could represent a potential loss of $233 million. NESV, owner of the Boston Red Sox—who have won the World Series twice since NESV took control in 2002—promises to bring back a culture of winning and remove all acquisition debt. “[NESV has] demonstrated, at Boston, exactly what we would like them to demonstrate here,” Martin Broughton, chairman of Liverpool, told the BBC.
Hicks and Gillett, who have made efforts to frustrate the sale, may lose their $233 million in loans to Liverpool if the proposed deal proceeds this Friday. The $485-million takeover agreement includes $323 million to settle with the Royal Bank of Scotland, $65 million to cover non-banking liabilities, and $97 million for the proposed new Anfield stadium in Stanley Park, leaving not a penny to repay the current owners.