Monday, October 12, 2009

Hicks believes Gillet will sell


The disharmony plaguing the Liverpool boardroom has been laid bare again after Tom Hicks called the bluff of George Gillett Jr, his co-owner, by letting it be known that he would allow Gillett to sell his 50 per cent stake in the club.

The war of attrition between the Americans has been stepped up over the past fortnight, with Gillett playing host to Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdullah al-Saud, a potential investor, during a rare visit to Anfield and scheduling talks with the Saudi in Jeddah this week, without discussing the negotiations with Hicks before them becoming public knowledge.

Hicks has responded by making it clear that he would be willing to forgo his right of veto should Gillett find a buyer for his half-share, while maintaining that he has no desire to give up his stake in the club.

Hicks has used his veto once, in March last year, when Dubai International Capital attempted to buy out Gillett only for the Texan to refuse to give the proposed deal his blessing.

The divisions between the pair are becoming increasingly pronounced and their latest posturings appear to amount to little more than a high-stakes game of bluff, with both attempting to use the media to strengthen their bargaining position while weakening that of their partner.

Just two weeks ago, Hicks and Gillett subscribed to an official statement in which they said that they have enlisted rival investment banks, Merrill Lynch and Rothschild, in an attempt to secure an injection of equity into the debt-ridden club. They have embarked on this search separately.

The latest evidence of their falling-out has been greeted with dismay by the Spirit Of Shankly (SOS) supporters’ group, which was set up in opposition to the Americans’ regime.

“Tom Hicks and George Gillett have once again shown that they are not the custodians they promised to be, or that the club needs,” SOS said. “Rather than work together to move Liverpool Football Club forward, they are more interested in their own egos and making as much money from the club as possible.”

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