Broughton expects Reds deal in a week

Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton expects the £300m (€344m) sale of the club to be completed “in about a week”.

Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton expects the £300m (€344m) sale of the club to be completed “in about a week”.

Broughton confirmed a deal which would clear the major part of the club’s bank debts had been agreed with New England Sports Ventures, the owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, although the delay has been caused by a legal challenge raised against the sale by current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

The chairman told Sky Sports News: “It’s likely to take about a week. I would hope we will get the judgement by the end of next week.”

Hicks and Gillett are opposed to the sale on the terms agreed to NESV, claiming it undervalues the club. They have also sought to remove chief executive Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre from their posts.

The American duo are already incredibly unpopular among Reds fans and Broughton added: “This was frankly their last chance to leave Liverpool with their heads high and they have chosen to go this route.

“It is a difficult issue. Part of me taking on the role – and I was appointed by Tom and George – was that they gave a written undertaking that only I could change the board, they wrote that into the articles of the two companies Kop Football and Kop Holdings.

“They also gave a written undertaking to RBS that they would not frustrate any reasonable sale and this is frankly a flagrant abuse of those two written undertakings.”

Broughton believes the prospective new owners could pursue plans for a new stadium or may choose instead to upgrade Anfield, having chosen to follow a similar path with the Red Sox's historic home Fenway Park rather than move to a new site.

“I think they want to be judged by what they do rather than what they say. If you look at the Boston Red Sox as a massive example of taking a major, historic team which had seen better days and restored them to glory, it is a parallel which demonstrates action.

“Their mentality is all about winning. They have invested a lot of money in players there and they are committed to making the necessary investment in Liverpool.

“At Fenway they chose not to build a new stadium. They will want to make sure that they do the right thing, (but) we will have a stadium which holds sixty-odd thousand.

“Whether that is the new stadium as designed or not, that is not a commitment, but will we have stadium development? Yes.”

Broughton admitted the sale process had been a long one, saying: “We have contacted hundreds of different people and at the end of that process we had two valid bids, both from excellent prospective vendors, on the table competing each other which I think demonstrates exactly what the market price is.

“The price is £300m, £200m in writing down all of the acquisition debt, taking on some of the additional working capital debts and other liabilities.”

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 said in a statement.

“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”.

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