The proposed takeover of Liverpool by a Chinese consortium would not involve direct ownership by the country’s government, although they may have a passive role in the organisation, it has been claimed.
More details of the bid fronted by Hong Kong-based businessman Kenny Huang have come to light after it was revealed the Chinese investors are being assisted by Chicago-based company Sportscorp.
The consortium have yet to table a bid, although Liverpool have now requested all parties prove by next week they have the money to back up their interest, but appear to be in pole position to replace American duo Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
If successful Huang and Guang Yang, executive vice-president of Franklin Templeton Investments and chief investment officer of the China Life/Franklin Templeton Fund, would be in charge of a limited liability corporation in control of Liverpool.
Other investors, including China Investment Corp – the country’s sovereign wealth fund – would be passive with no more than a 20% share.
The Chinese bid has four major aims: to leave Liverpool debt-free; make significant investment and construct the long-awaited new stadium in Stanley Park; provide a considerable sum for transfers and expand more actively into the Asian market.
However, those behind the plan – the broad details of which have already been submitted to Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton and Barclays Capital, who are running the sale of the club – insist their offer would not be financially beneficial to Hicks and Gillett.
“What is not one of our goals is the enrichment of the existing owners,” said head of Sportscorp Marc Ganis, who suggested should the takeover be successful there would not be widespread change behind the scenes at Anfield.
“If we submit a proposal and it is accepted, it would be focused on the future and not the past.”