Sahara clear the way for main contenders

The announcement by Indian conglomerate Sahara Group that they were not following through their interest in Liverpool to the bidding stage is likely to have little impact as the process gathers pace this week.

The announcement by Indian conglomerate Sahara Group that they were not following through their interest in Liverpool to the bidding stage is likely to have little impact as the process gathers pace this week.

Sahara boss Subrata Roy, in conjunction with fellow Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, was linked with investing in the Merseysiders earlier this year.

However, their names were not among those considered to be serious contenders when the interest began to intensify in the last fortnight.

“The deal for the acquisition of Liverpool Football Club was in our consideration in the recent past,” said head of corporate communications Abhijit Sarkar in a statement to Bloomberg.

“However, after considering all related factors, we have decided not to go ahead with it, at least for the time being.”

Chinese businessman Kenny Huang and Syrian-Canadian Yahya Kirdi appear to be the two front runners, although New York-based investment firm the Rhone Group and Kuwaiti Al-Kharafi family have also been linked.

Liverpool have asked interested parties to submit formal proposals, including proof of funds and detailed plans for the construction of a new stadium in Stanley Park, by the end of this week.

The club are still hopeful of completing a deal before the end of the month to afford manager Roy Hodgson at least some time to take advantage of an open transfer window.

Chairman Martin Broughton is overseeing the sale, being run by Barclays Capital, and is conscious of the need to make the correct decision when it comes to a change of ownership.

Last month he stressed it was important to choose the most appropriate bid and not necessarily take the highest offer, at the same time confirming co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett could not block a sale to a particular party if it was deemed in the best interests of the club.

Broughton, managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre make up the other members of the board and can out-vote the co-owners if there is no consensus on the best candidate.

Hicks and Gillett are not inclined to support the bid by Huang, as he has insisted there will be no profit for the Americans in his calculations over what the club is worth.

Instead they favour the option put forward by Kirdi, who last week claimed he was at an advanced stage with his negotiations, who is offering more than his Hong Kong-based rival.

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