Purslow still hopeful of Liverpool buy-out

Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow remains hopeful the club can be sold sooner rather than later with a number of interested parties currently looking at the club’s accounts.

Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow remains hopeful the club can be sold sooner rather than later with a number of interested parties currently looking at the club’s accounts.

Purslow dismissed fears they will go bust should the current ownership issues not be successfully resolved and warned co-owner Tom Hicks he will not be allowed to refinance his debts using the Reds’ assets as security.

Despite the likes of Chinese businessman Kenny Huang and Canadian-based investor Yahya Kirdi failing to come up with offers despite high-profile media campaigns last month, Liverpool’s managing director said there were several other groups interested.

“There are a small number of potentially-interested parties working seriously and privately, doing due diligence, looking at the business in detail from a financial and legal standpoint,” said Purslow.

“My hope is that one of those steps forward with a proposal to buy the club which is attractive to the board and which would be good for the club.

“Do I know whether any of those parties are going to get over the finishing line? No. Can I make someone write a cheque? No.

“The single, most important, aspect of the possible sale of the club is to make sure that if we’re going to sell the club we get the sale right. The only thing worse than no sale is the wrong sale.

“I will not make the mistake of sanctioning any transaction that puts the club in a worse position. I know the questions to ask.”

Hicks, who is trying to put together a package to restructure his loans and buy out co-owner George Gillett, has already had one refinancing project vetoed by the club’s board, when Purslow, chairman Martin Broughton and commercial director Ian Ayre utilised their majority vote.

The two Americans owe £237million plus huge additional penalty fees to the Royal Bank of Scotland and the loan is up for repayment or renegotiation in mid-October.

But as the club has still not been sold either option appears unlikely, which is why Hicks is trying to find funding from elsewhere.

The Texan this week failed to persuade investment group Blackstone to help his refinancing bid, which had the remainder of the board considering legal action to prevent.

And Purslow has warned Hicks no new refinancing would be allowed which borrowed on assets like Anfield, the club’s Melwood training ground or even players.

“That would require board approval and the other members of the board have made it clear that’s not what we want to see happen. [It is] very unlikely,” he added.

“Any incurrence of indebtedness by Liverpool Football Club needs full board approval. The non-owner directors have made it clear that’s not what we want to see happen.”

Concern has been expressed that should Hicks and Gillett fail to reorganise their debts or sell up then there is an outside chance RBS could take over the club and it could ultimately go into administration, but Purslow ruled out that possibility.

“Liverpool Football Club is not going bust. We have an extremely healthy business with record revenues and we are highly profitable,” he said.

“We have cash, we are solvent, we have banking facilities which last beyond the end of next season and we are heavily scrutinised by the Premier League.

“To achieve our UEFA licence we went through that process and they were very happy with what they saw – so I cannot conceive of a situation where Liverpool Football Club could go into administration.

“The issue today is that too much of our profit is being used to service loans, interest costs and bank charges. Can we afford to meet them? Just about.

“We are dealing with that issue. When we sell the business that debt will be reduced or go away which will make us the most profitable club in the Premier League.”

Purslow has also insisted any money made from the sale of players – in August Liverpool made another profit for the fourth successive transfer window – would be reinvested in the squad.

Manager Roy Hodgson admitted earlier this month he did not know whether anything left from the proceeds of Javier Mascherano’s £22m move to Barcelona would be available come January.

Purslow confirmed it would, telling LFC TV: “Every single penny we generate from selling footballers goes back into buying footballers.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way and I wouldn’t have taken the job to oversee selling footballers to pay banks or owners money.

“We never have in my time here and we never will as long as I am here. If Roy continues to see a new striker as a priority then that’s what he’ll work on doing in January with the total support of the club and with every penny we have available.”

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