Monday, September 28, 2009

Prince Faisal confirms Liverpool talks

Liverpool co-owner George Gillett is set to sell his stake in the Premier League club to Saudi Arabian sports investment firm F6, according to the company's managing director Gassim Hamidaddin.

Gillett and fellow American owner Tom Hicks have endured a troubled relationship since buying Liverpool in 2007 and with the club apparently struggling to raise finances the former is ready to sell at least a portion of his stake.

F6 official Hamidaddin told Reuters: "We have not reached a final agreement yet ... We are discussing how much 25% or 50% in Liverpool will be worth."

Saudi prince Faisal bin Fahad bin Abdullah al-Saud, who chairs F6, was at Anfield to watch Liverpool's 6-1 thrashing of Hull City on Saturday, and said after the match that he was "close" to buying a stake in the Reds. Prince Faisal said the deal could "be worth £200 million to £350 million" but Hamidaddin said these figures "were not 100 percent accurate".

Regardless of the final amount, if the deal goes through it would provide a huge cash boost for Liverpool. Lack of funds means plans to build a new stadium in Stanley Park have been shelved and manager Rafael Benitez has reportedly fallen out with the board over his transfer budget on more than one occasion.

Liverpool have sought to expand their brand in the Middle East with a series of academies and the George Gillett Group are said to have agreed a memorandum of understanding with F6 that included an option to invest in the club.

Hamidaddin said: "There was a clause in this agreement that opened the possibility of buying a stake in Liverpool."

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