Wed, Feb 07, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Liverpool's board recommends US pair's takeover bid


Liverpool is close to becoming the third Premier League club owned by Americans.

The storied English soccer club recommended yesterday that its shareholders accept a takeover bid from US businessmen George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks -- both owners of NHL hockey teams.

Details of the takeover were not immediately available. A formal announcement was expected later yesterday.

However, British media have reported that Gillett, the owner of the Montreal Canadiens, and Hicks, who owns the Dallas Stars and baseball's Texas Rangers, will offer a ?175 million (US$344 million) bid for Liverpool.

Liverpool said the proposed takeover would be a "great step forward" for the record 18-time English champions. Liverpool has also won the European Cup five times -- more than any other English team.

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry said the US duo was keen to invest immediately in the club.

"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," Parry said.

In September, Liverpool received the go-ahead to build a new 60,000-seat stadium, clearing the way for it to leave the 45,000-capacity Anfield after 114 years.

The Times of London newspaper said Gillett and Hicks would commit up to ?215 million for a new stadium.

It also said they were likely to pay off at least ?50 million of the club's estimated ?80 million debt.

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