Liverpool mull bid from the owner of Montreal Canadiens

AGENCIES , LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND

Fri, Feb 02, 2007 - Page 22

A Dubai-based consortium pulled out on Wednesday of a proposed ?450 million (US$882 million) takeover of Liverpool FC, clearing the way for a US businessman to buy the famous soccer club.

Gillett, the owner of Montreal Canadiens ice-hockey team, had an initial offer rejected late last year but impressed majority shareholder and chairman David Moores with a second bid, a source close to the club said.

Moores views himself as a custodian of Liverpool and intends to find the best deal for the club before selling his 51.5 percent stake.

Gillett's initial offer is believed to have included the intention of ground sharing with city rivals Everton and that was a stumbling block for Moores.

But the latest proposal is expected to back Liverpool's efforts to build a new stadium.

Gillett may have representatives at Liverpool's derby match at Everton tomorrow for further talks, the source said.

A Liverpool club statement on Wednesday said: "Liverpool Football Club has noted today's announcement by Dubai International Capital. The process of seeking new owners for the club is still underway and a decision on the future will be taken in the next few days."

Dubai International Capital (DIC) said earlier in the day a "comprehensive offer" had been accepted in principle by Moores after the company had completed due diligence.

However it added that "it appears that the Liverpool Board and the majority shareholder David Moores were unable to approve these terms in order to allow DIC to make a formal offer to all shareholders."

Liverpool have been seeking an injection of cash for two years to help challenge for top honors and fund a new stadium.