Dubai International Capital today denied a “timeline” has been put on any offer for Liverpool.
The company’s spokesperson Jehad Saleh refused to comment on reports DIC this morning tabled a £400m bid for the club.
However, Saleh insisted reports DIC had given Liverpool co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks a deadline of midnight tonight to accept an offer were not correct.
She said: “No figures have been (publicly) mentioned, and talks are ongoing. No timeline has been set on the talks.”
DIC chief executive Sameer al-Ansari, a lifelong Liverpool fan, this morning confirmed he is in talks with Gillett and Tom Hicks.
Saleh refused to confirm that Al-Ansari is currently speaking to both Gillett and Hicks, but revealed he was in Dubai.
Reports on Merseyside claimed the deadline had been imposed on Hicks and Gillett to accept the bid.
The offer would give the American businessmen a profit of £25m each on their investment in the club.
The reported bid follows confirmation from DIC, the investment arm of the Maktoum royal family, that talks had taken place between the various parties but were being held up by the valuation of the club by one of Hicks or Gillett.
“It’s no secret that we have been in discussions with the current owners,” said Al-Ansari on www.skysports.com.
“It’s not easy because the owners are in dreamland about valuations at the moment.”
Al-Ansari later clarified that one of the club’s owners “had come out of dreamland”, without giving further details.
Other reports today indicate Hicks, who has insisted he is opposed to a sale, has been trying to raise the capital necessary to buy out his partner.
But Hicks has described such speculation as “premature”.
The US tycoons are believed to have suffered a breakdown in their relationship since taking over Liverpool last year.
Today’s offer was reportedly made to the pair by Amanda Staveley, a senior partner of London-based investment firm PCP and who represents DIC.
Only last week, Texan billionaire Hicks denied reports he had invited DIC to inspect the club’s accounts in preparation for a takeover.
Frustrated by Hicks’ stance, DIC turned their attention to Gillett, who is thought to be much keener on a sale.
However, neither of the co-owners is able to cut and run without the other’s consent, a point Hicks was at pains to make last week when he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “Not only am I not going to sell, my partner cannot sell without my approval.”
Also, DIC are thought to want a controlling stake at Anfield, meaning they would need to convince Hicks to relinquish part of his 50% of the club as well as buying out Gillett.
It appears clear the main problem preventing a takeover is the price DIC are willing to pay.
It has been nowhere near the amount of money Hicks has been asking for – he would want to make a substantial sum out of selling the club.
Another hurdle to overcome is that the refinancing package announced on January 25 has loaded £105m of debt on to the club.
Of that, £60m is earmarked to kick-start the new stadium development plus £45m for future player transfers and to meet the club’s working capital needs.
The takeover talk is being driven by the refinancing deal, believed to only last for 18 months, and so Hicks and Gillett are soon going to have to start renegotiating the debts.
Furthermore, they are shortly going to have to go back to the banks to ask for a further £300m in loans to finance the rest of the new stadium at Stanley Park.