Broughton dismayed as owners attempt to block sale

Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton has hit out at owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett for trying to block the sale of the club.

Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton has hit out at owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett for trying to block the sale of the club.

Sources at the club are confident the £300m (€344m) deal with New England Sports Ventures (NESV) will go through despite the threat of legal action from the two Americans, who yesterday failed in a boardroom coup to prevent a change of ownership.

Hicks and Gillett have stressed they are not prepared to go without a fight - the NESV deal would see their three-and-a-half-year reign end without them making a profit – and the situation is now set for a legal battle.

The American duo were outvoted 3-2 by Broughton, managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre when it came to accepting the NESV’s offer.

And Broughton, the independent chairman appointed to oversee the sale, expressed his disappointment at Hicks and Gillett’s attempts to block the sale, which will clear all debts.

“By removing the burden of acquisition debt, this offer allows us to focus on investment in the team,” he said.

“I am only disappointed that the owners have tried everything to prevent the deal from happening and that we need to go through legal proceedings in order to complete the sale.”

Having announced last night the club had received two bids, Liverpool confirmed they had agreed a sale to NESV early this morning. NESV currently owns a portfolio of companies including the Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Network, Fenway Sports Group and Rousch Fenway Racing.

“I am delighted that we have been able to successfully conclude the sale process which has been thorough and extensive,” Broughton added.

“The board decided to accept NESV’s proposal on the basis that it best met the criteria we set out originally for a suitable new owner.

“NESV’s philosophy is all about winning and they have fully demonstrated that at Red Sox.

“We’ve met them in Boston, London and Liverpool over several weeks and I am immensely impressed with what they have achieved and with their vision for Liverpool Football Club.”

Hicks and Gillett last night pledged to “resist any attempt to sell the club without due process or agreement”.

However, with a sale having now been agreed the next move is theirs as plans to change ownership will continue to be progressed.

The sale is also still subject to Premier League approval.

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