Timeline: Ownership battle at Liverpool takes new twist

(BestGrowthStock) – The ownership battle for Premier League side Liverpool took a new twist after owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks were granted a temporary restraining order by a Texan court prohibiting the sale of the club.

Here is a timeline on its ownership troubles:

February 2007 – U.S. sports tycoons George Gillett and Tom Hicks pledge to keep Liverpool true to tradition after agreeing to pay 218.9 million pounds ($347.5 million) to takeover the Premier League football club.

— Billionaire Hicks is the owner of the Texas Rangers major league baseball team and the Dallas Stars NHL franchise, while Gillett owns NHL’s Montreal Canadiens.

March 2008 – Takeover talks involving Hicks and Dubai International Capital (DIC) are terminated amid disagreement over who should be running the club.

— DIC, which made a 400 million pounds ($807.6 million) bid for Liverpool, say it is “in advanced discussions” with Liverpool’s co-owners although no agreement was on price or shareholding percentage.

September 2008 – DIC rules out a fresh bid for Liverpool.

April 16, 2010 – Liverpool goes up for sale. Hicks and Gillett appoint Barclays Capital to find a buyer.

— Hicks and Gillett say in a joint statement that being owners of Liverpool for the past three years had been a “rewarding and exciting” experience.

August 10 – Royal Bank of Scotland is supporting the club’s sale by offering financing to potential buyers, banking sources say.

— Creditors originally asked Liverpool’s two owners to pay down 100 million pounds ($157.5 million) of its debt of around 250 million pounds. The two could not make the payment and the debt financing was amended and extended “at least six times” since 2008 before the club was put up for sale in April.

— Several Middle Eastern buyers expressed interest but the owners could not agree a purchase price, the bankers say.

October 5 – Hicks and Gillett seek to remove managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre from the Board, replacing them with Mack Hicks and Lori Kay McCutcheon.

— A statement from Hicks and Gillett says offers “dramatically undervalue the Club” but they are committed to finding a buyer that would sustain the future of Liverpool.

October 6 – Liverpool’s board agrees to sell the club to the owners of baseball’s Boston Red Sox. The Premier League club say they have accepted a 300 million pounds ($477.6 million) offer from New England Sports Ventures (NESV) ahead of an October 15 deadline to repay over 200 million pounds worth of debt. However the deal is being complicated because they are facing a legal challenge from Hicks and Gillett.

October 8 – NESV are cleared to continue their proposed takeover of Liverpool by the Premier League.

October 12 – Lawyers for Hicks and Gillett admit they have breached their contracts with RBS when they tried to sack board members in a final bid to keep control of the club.

— Singapore billionaire Peter Lim makes a cash bid for the club of 320 million pounds which tops NESV. Lim says he will also make a further 40 million pounds available for manager Roy Hodgson to purchase players.

October 13 – British court backs RBS and rules against Hicks and Gillett, backing the club’s board and its right to negotiate a deal.

— NESV welcomes the High Court decision and says it had a binding agreement to buy the club. Peter Lim says he hopes the board will consider all the offers before them.

— Hicks and Gillett issue a statement saying they had been granted a temporary restraining order by a Texas court prohibiting the sale of the club.

October 14 – Lim says he is still interested in buying the club and that he is monitoring developments.

(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit, and Ossian Shine;)

Timeline: Ownership battle at Liverpool takes new twist