There’s been contrasting news for two of the Premier League’s biggest clubs amid reported buying interest.
Liverpool’s ownership group, Fenway Sports, have apparently made a full U-turn by claiming that the club isn’t for sale.
That comes just four months after the group, headed by John Henry, had intimated they would welcome offers for the Merseyside outfit in the region of £3.5 billion.
But Fenway have now embarked upon a complete about-face, angering Liverpool fans hoping for fresh investment from a new owner. Instead, Henry has clarified that they are instead seeking new investors – but that Fenway themselves will retain a majority shareholding for the foreseeable future.
“I know there has been a lot of conversation and quotes about LFC, but I keep to the facts: we merely formalized an ongoing process,” Henry confirmed.
“Will we be in England forever? No. Are we selling LFC? No. Are talking with investors about LFC? Yes. Will something happen there? I believe so, but it won’t be a sale.”
Fenway had enlisted the help of major American banking firms Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley in November in a bid to attract new investment, but that was not a sign that they were looking to sell the club they have owned since 2010, and whom they have financed to Premier League and Champions League glory.
Instead, they are pressing ahead with plans to redevelop a stand at Anfield which will cost in the region of £80 million. It’s also thought that Jurgen Klopp will want to overhaul his under-performing squad in the summer, which will also require a significant cash injection.
Who Will Buy Manchester United?
As part of their sale of Manchester United, the Glazer family had imposed a deadline of Friday evening for takeover bids to be lodged.
There hasn’t been an official proclamation of who has expressed an interest or how many suitors there are, although Sir Jim Ratcliffe – United fan and INEOS founder – is known to be one of the bidders.
It’s not thought that an offer from the Emir of Qatar or Qatari Sports Investment – current owners of PSG – has materialised, although don’t be surprised if they worked behind the scenes alongside Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, a billionaire financier from the Middle Eastern country who has thrown his hat into the ring.
Ratcliffe is the preferred pick of many United fans on account of his professed love for the club, although the bid from Sheikh Jassim – via his Nine Two foundation, thought to be named after the club’s vaunted ‘Class of ‘92’ – will reportedly be ‘debt free’. Some takeovers of late have seen the new owner effectively pay for the club using equity that is then repaid by their acquisition.
In a shock twist that will dismay United fans, the Manchester Evening News has also reported that Joel and Avram Glazer are considering buying out their siblings and retaining full control of the club.
It’s thought that a bid of £6 billion might be enough to secure a deal, although interested parties will also be acutely aware of the huge debt that United were saddled with when the Glazers took over in 2005.