Saturday, October 16, 2010

Liverpool Sold To NESV, Statements Imminent

New England Sports Ventures has completed its takeover of Liverpool Football Club, BBC Sport understands. The move comes after former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett removed the temporary restraining order blocking any sale on Friday morning. That allowed NESV, owners of the American baseball side Boston Red Sox, to complete its £300m purchase. Hicks and Gillett, however, have vowed to pursue £1bn in damages from the club, arguing the deal is "illegal". The American pair say they will "pursue every legal avenue" to claim damages for what they believe is an "extraordinary swindle". Still, there was an air of relief as news of NESV's completed purchase emerged - a move that will allow major creditors Royal Bank of Scotland to be paid the £237m they are owed on Friday. That, in turn, means Liverpool's holding company are unlikely now to be put into administration, a move which could have resulted in a nine- point penalty in the Premier League. This outcome not only devalues the club but it also will result in long-term uncertainty The lawyer representing Tom Hicks & George Gillet Former owners Hicks and Gillett had earlier lifted the restraining order blocking the club's sale earlier on Friday, but not so that the current board could complete a deal with NESV. Hicks was believed to be negotiating the sale of his shares with US hedge fund Mill Financial, who already own Gillett's shares after he defaulted on a £75m loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland in August. But the Premier League rejected Mill's requests to undergo a fit and proper person test on Thursday, saying it could only negotiate with the Liverpool board. The board - comprising chairman Martin Broughton, managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre as well as Hicks and Gillett - had already accepted a bid from NESV by three votes to two for them to become the club's new owners. NESV, who own the Boston Red Sox baseball team in the United States and are owned by John W Henry, will now gain control over the Anfield outfit. But Hicks and Gillett, who gave up hope of holding on to Liverpool at a court in Dallas on Friday, will not give up without a fight, saying they will sue for at least £1bn.

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