Thursday, October 28, 2010

Broughton Reveals Supporting Cast Of Takeover Saga

Specialist sports business and media law firm Couchmans has been highlighted by Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton as having played a key supporting role in the successful sale of Liverpool Football Club to New England Sports Ventures (NESV) for US$475 million . The law firm, brought in by Broughton to act as his personal advisors following his appointment in April, initially worked on the corporate governance arrangements set up between Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett. The Couchmans team, led by Satish Khandke, a partner at the firm and head of sports ventures, then fulfilled a vital central advisory role throughout the six-month period that Liverpool Football Club was up for sale and was again heavily relied upon during the week running up to the club's takeover by NESV, which culminated in Liverpool's legal battles with Hicks and Gillett in the High Court. Broughton was highly complimentary of the work Couchmans provided in assisting the sale of the club. "Satish and his team worked tirelessly throughout. Even at the most testing time I always had confidence in the advice I was being given. "As chairman, it was vital to me that I had trusted experts alongside me who not only had the technical legal know-how to handle the complex issues involved, but were also well- versed in the nuances and politics of football. I have been working with Couchmans for some time on different projects and I have found their particular mix of legal skills and strategic capability allied to in-depth knowledge of the sports industry not only of immense value to me but unique in the marketplace," Broughton added. Regarding his teams work, Satish Khandke said, "It was a privilege to work at close quarters with a businessman of Martin 's calibre. As the individual with ultimate responsibility for both finding the right buyer for the club and executing a sale to them. Martin had the key role in the entire process, and as his lawyers we were therefore advising on all of the key decisions and strategy throughout. Speaking for the firm, I was especially pleased with the way we were able to adapt and deal with the broad range of issues involved as the matter transformed quickly from corporate transaction into high profile and complex multi- jurisdictional litigation. "This project illustrates clearly an increasing trend - that there is a vital role to be played even in the biggest of corporate transactions, for specialist firms with genuine sector expertise. Martin has rightly emerged from this extraordinarily difficult process with enormous credit and we are delighted to have played our part in helping him to secure the future of Liverpool FC," Khandke added. Broughton is reportedly stepping down from his role as Liverpool chairman to front an investment vehicle, Sports Investment Partners (SIP), a new business that will be run by his son Michael and Couchmans founder, Nic Couchman.

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