Red Sox deal for Reds

Liverpool board accept bid from baseball giants

By Chris Burton.   Last Updated: 06/10/10 1:59pm

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John W. Henry is the co-founder of NESV

John W. Henry is the co-founder of NESV

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Liverpool have confirmed that a takeover deal has been agreed with the owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

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"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."
Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton Quotes of the week

New England Sports Ventures (NESV), the parent company of the Red Sox, have seen a bid accepted by the Anfield board.

Current Liverpool owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks had vowed to 'resist any attempt to sell the club without due process or agreement', and have not given their consent for a deal to be pushed through.

However, the Reds have been able to put an agreement in place - although the sale is still conditional on Premier League approval, resolution of the dispute concerning board membership and other matters.

It was reported on Tuesday that the owners of the MLB giants, led by John W. Henry, were closing on a deal for the Premier League outfit.

It was claimed that a rival bid from an Asian consortium was also being prepared, but no move has been made on that front.


NESV, who own a portfolio of companies including the Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Network, Fenway Sports Group and Rousch Fenway Racing, have now emerged as the only bidder.

Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton told the club's official website: "I am delighted that we have been able to successfully conclude the sale process which has been thorough and extensive.

"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.

"By removing the burden of acquisition debt, this offer allows us to focus on investment in the team.

"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."

The boardroom battle between American owners Hicks and Gillett and their England-based colleagues escalated to a new level on Tuesday.

With news of two new "excellent" bids having been received, the pair, led primarily by Hicks, tried to effect a coup by removing managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre from their positions on the board minutes before a meeting to discuss the new offers.


It was intended to allow the Americans to regain control of the sale process, allowing them the final say on any offer.

Hicks and Gillett wanted to instal Mack Hicks, one of Tom's sons, and Lori Kay McCutcheon, financial controller at Hicks Holdings.

This was rebuffed as the two club officials, backed by chairman Broughton, out-voted the Americans three to two.

The club issued an unprecedented statement detailing yesterday's machinations in which they also revealed this boardroom issue was now the subject of a legal review.

However, the statement pointedly went on to stress that Broughton, Purslow and Ayre would "continue to explore every possible route to achieving a sale of the club at the earliest opportunity".

There has been a division on the board from the moment Hicks and Gillett announced in April they wanted to end their three-year tenure at Anfield, but that split has turned into a chasm.

Broughton was appointed as independent chairman as part of the sale process, ensuring the Americans no longer had a majority vote and could not prevent a sale that was in the best interests of the club.

Central to the whole saga has been next week's looming deadline for the repayment or refinancing of £282million of loans - owed principally to the Royal Bank of Scotland, who are reportedly backing the sale to NESV.

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