Report: DIC look to buy Hicks out of Anfield

For the second time this week a Tony Barrett story in the Liverpool Echo has revealed news that is shaking fans of Liverpool Football Club. This time it may be good news, although that remains to be seen.

On Monday Barrett exclusively revealed the owner’s secret decision to offer Jurgen Klinsmann the manager’s job even though current manager Rafa Benitez was in the middle of a winning streak and still unbeaten in the league. Today he’s revealed the news that the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, through his investment group Dubai International Capital are set to make an offer to buy out the Texan half-owner of the club, Tom Hicks.

The Echo were told that DIC senior executives were given the green light by the Sheikh to make an offer to buy into the club, just under a year since their first attempt was brought to an end by the late offer of around an extra £1000 per share by Gillett and Hicks. That extra £1000 a share meant multi-millionaire owner at the time David Moores got an extra few multi-millions to add to his account by choosing the Americans over DIC. But it wasn’t just the money for Moores; he fell for promises from Hicks and Gillett that they clearly have not kept.

According to the Echo, “an offer has been agreed in principle,” but it’s not clear yet whether the agreement refers to the Sheikh approving the offer, or if it’s an agreement in principle between Hicks and DIC.

DIC were considering obtaining a shareholding of around 15% from the club before Christmas, but backed out when given a price that would have valued the club at an unrealistic £1billion. They are willing to become joint owners with George Gillett, owning around half the club if not a little more, at a much more realistic price.

The Echo quote a source close to DIC as saying: “It is a very delicate situation but DIC has reignited its interest in Liverpool Football Club. The terms of the offer, which will be made to Tom Hicks, have been agreed and DIC are hopeful they will be finally be able to invest in Liverpool.”

There have already been reports this week that DIC had entered into a period of due diligence, and it seems that is now over. The source went on: “The offer is now being written up and it should be only a matter of time before it is delivered to Hicks.”

Hicks and Gillett are fighting to get some new finance to replace their 12-month loan with RBS. After promising not to put debt on the club, it’s now no secret that this plan changed in the autumn when they were trying to tie up the fresh deal. Amidst rumours of a falling out between Hicks and Gillett, it seems Hicks got his way in at least attempting to negotiate a new finance package and if they could get approval, hundreds of millions of pounds worth of debt would be secured on the club and its assets. The club quickly denied the pair had fallen out, but the rumours persisted.

There is little doubt that a new deal would be harmful to the club. Gillett and Hicks are either unwilling or unable to put enough of their own collateral into the deal to enable a reasonable rate of interest to be negotiated. This would leave the club facing interest payments in the region of £30m a year, if not more. By paying that, then paying the owners any dividend they decided to take, there would be very little left each year for new signings – especially in the early years when the stadium was still to be built. And this was not a loan to pay for the whole of the building work on the new stadium, which means a further loan would be necessary further down the line, with interest payment increasing accordingly. Hicks’ aim is to make a profit, and he seems to feel he can do this without actually winning anything, because the fan base are loyal and will keep coming to games even if the league isn’t being challenged for each season.

Revelations of what the owners were doing behind the scenes have been leaking for some time, but after being hurt by newspaper lies in the past many supporters are wary of believing much if anything of what they read in the press. This is a dangerous line to take, because for every Didier Baptiste there’s a true story waiting to come out. And the likes of Chris Bascombe, Oliver Kay and Paul Joyce – amongst others – aren’t likely to make up damaging rumours about the club they all love like we do.

It was Monday’s admission that Jurgen Klinsmann really had been offered Rafa’s job that finally allowed a lot of Reds to see the light. Those who’d trusted the papers were finally glad to see some proof, those who’d been sitting on the fence fell off it, and those who’d not believed a word were left with jaws dropped at what they were hearing. Not only was there the admission about Klinsmann, but also an admission that DIC had indeed been approached about buying into the club, despite denials from Rick Parry. It wasn’t the only denial that later proved to be false by what Hicks admitted on Monday, Hicks himself had also claimed that reports he wanted to fire Rafa had been made up by the press.

There’s no guarantee yet that Hicks will sell. However it does seem unlikely that the board will approve his plans to refinance the club’s debts in the way he wishes, and without that approval the deal can’t go ahead. The offer Hicks will receive from DIC will be for substantially less than his pre-Christmas £1bn valuation, but would still leave him with a profit. What remains to be seen now is whether Hicks’ ego will allow him to accept the offer and leave the club.

With Gillett, his son Foster, Parry and Moores all reported to be against Hicks, it’s clearly not a comfortable place for the Texan to be right now.

Hicks’ word is clearly not worth a dime. He denied wanting to sell any shares to DIC back in December: “I just want to clear up with you that I am not selling any of my shares to anybody. I have no idea why anyone would think that. It was just rubbish.” On Monday the Echo reported that he had tried to sell some of his shares to DIC after all. And it was reported in the articles that came from Hicks’ interview.

Also in that interview, Hicks told the Echo that he was confident of a deal with RBS and Wachovia being sealed within days. If it is then he may well turn down the offer from DIC. Acceptance of DIC’s offer now would give him a good profit, but he may feel he can earn more in the long term. If the reported levels of interest the club will have to pay turn out to be true, it will take some time for him to see any real profit from the club, especially in light of the fact that team improvements will be restricted.

Hicks, Gillett, Parry and DIC have all remained quiet on this story so far today, with none of the usual denials that are issued when a story claims Hicks is either selling up or struggling to get finance. A club spokesman said: “We do not comment on speculation.” This used to be true of course, until recently.

The owners, Hicks in particular, have now lost any support they had from the supporters. Too many broken promises had already put them in a precarious position, but their treatment of Rafa took all of that away. Especially in light of the revelations also proving other statements had not been truthful.

To most Reds Hicks is the more dangerous of the two owners, the one most likely to disregard the traditions of the club, to see it as just another Weetabix. Gillett was present at the Klinsmann meetings, so is far from squeaky clean, but if he sticks to his guns and refuses to allow debt to be loaded onto the club then there’s a small chink of light that might just allow him to start again in earning some respect from the fans. But Hicks, certainly, has come out of this lucking like a bully, and is unlikely to find favour with fans ever again.

As things stand, the owners are in for a rough ride from fans. How effective they would be is difficult to predict, but boycotts of merchandise and other anti-owner acts are already being discussed. Tuesday night’s banners, such as the one asking for the “Yanks” to leave and calling for an SOS from Dubai were produced hastily by supporters with the news coming so close to the FA Cup tie. Monday’s match with Villa may well be a different story.

It’s still of course questionable just how good for the club DIC would be. If the US owners had done everything the promised and implied then we’d not be in this situation now. Rafa would have got the players he had told them he wanted, meaning there would be no need for an outburst in May as the owners delayed in admitting to him that they weren’t really going to give him that kind of budget after all. Even if their plans had changed because of circumstances they couldn’t control, some honesty might have helped. But it’s clear that what Hicks and Gillett say and what Hicks and Gillett do are two entirely different things. We gave them our trust, they repaid us with deceit.

This means our trust won’t be so forthcoming if and when DIC come into any level of ownership of the club. They’ll be given the benefit of the doubt initially, and will be carefully watched, but supporters now know without any doubt that promises don’t have to be kept. DIC still want to make money out of the club but now seem to be the only organisation capable of doing so without putting the club under dangerous financial pressure. They also seem likely to ensure an experienced member of their organisation is here at all times, and communication issues should not be the problem they have been with Hicks. It’s also unlikely that they would tell Rafa – assuming he stays -one thing about his budget and then later admit that this wasn’t actually true. Overall, DIC seem a far better option, but fans will be wary to start with.

18 thoughts on “Report: DIC look to buy Hicks out of Anfield”

  1. Like most fans, I desperately want Hicks to just leave us all in peace, take a big profit from a sale of his shares to DIC, sell up and concentrate on his “franchises” in America – he is not wanted here and he should understand how hurt we are as supporters with the contempt he has shown towards Rafael Benitez, the man who gave Liverpool their pride back. He has made too many false promises and with ever week he stays at the club, is fans will heap more and more pressure on him to leave.

    As for George Gillett, we don’t trust you at all …

  2. Hopefully some good news but I don’t think we should view DIC as some kind of sugar daddies their aim will be to make money from the club club.
    When the Klinsmann story broke most people didn’t believe it to be true but its turned out to be exactly what it was.So hopefully there is some truth in this and maybe we will get new owners who are prepared to back the manager with sufficient funds and give us the stadium we were promised.

    No doubt the usual redneck yanks will still be backing Hicks and wanting Benitez sacked but ask yourself this…..If he is such a bad manager why oh why are Barca and Real waiting to have him?

  3. Hopefully DIC will come in for all the reasons we want but also it does make good business sense for them.

    If we borrow money, we borrow from Dubai banks (they own) therefore the gain profit from loans and own a %age of the asset at the end……….Like all businesses they will want a profit but there are still reports (how true they are?) that obvioulsy they want a profit but they see liverpool as a Flagship organisation and a brand to take DIC around the world……….who knows but anything is better than Hicks!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I hope that we should show the Americans not to mess with our beloved club. I hope that we will not go to Anfield for the game there but I will be watching it live on TV. Rafa won’t have any more budget to spend anymore this January. By a few months the Americans will feel the situation and eventually sell to some party that we trust. The Americans must leave. Bring in DIC which has the passion for the club.

  5. hach guli ba char mast… yag roz didi dost – degare roz didi bridar

    have faith my friends soon to be brothers

    Why reproval? You, always with me and in my heart
    Oh friend of the night who, if it falls, prevents

    In my heart, from your words, illusion of a poet
    Can never describe it, nor can I cease

    Sing with me, say to me that you do the work of a wizard
    And for you, of your choosing, words you like to hear

    My heart is not ruled by a gazelle startled
    Had its affection my friend yet, without cause, parts

    Oh, who jilted me, sublime images with me remained, oh, who jilted me
    Follows you a heart whose owner, for love, owns it not

    Who can help me with fortune so dire?
    Do not expect God to replace my heart lost

    In your charm and love, all seen by my eye
    My eyes tired, whenever your image appeared, refreshed

    Seeing lightning, past and present
    Lightening from your side, flashes, I and my camels follow

    Your eyes, my agony, say that you are enchanting me
    Oh you, bewitching, after hurt, no I never want kindness

  6. After Hickabilly and Gutless have lowered our expectations of what to expect for owners, this situtaion can only be a win win for DIC.

    Something telle me the world of finance is now being played out in public while Hickabilly drives a hard bargain – shouting, i won’t sell – until he gets top dollar. And DIC will have to pay more than they wanted which means they’ll have to recruit that sum and more from the fans. But surely this has to better than Hickally and Gutless…..I hope!

    Sincerely hope they are gone – and that we can hear from Moores soon.

    Time for us to get our Club back and for Moores and Parry to tell us how they got things so wrong!

    That just leaves the Rafa issue – but I hope he’s given at least one more season to show us what this unstable season has taken away from him and the team (inspite of what our beloved Carragher’s saying in public.)

    Great article by the way!

  7. never trusted americans from the beginning, will promise you the earth then shoot you in the head. were now a laughing stock. nice one lads, thanks for nothing

  8. As one of the many thousands of supporters in South Africa i hope this mess can be sorted out soon.

    For too long the Mancs have been parading ‘our’ League trophy and it is about time we get it back.

    In my humble opinion i think we have been doing well since Rafa became coach. We dont have loads of cash to spend on big name players and Utd and Chelsea especially can basically buy the best players in the world and yet they cannot even win the Champions League.

    The day we can spend as much as they can on players is the day LFC will once again take its rightful place as THE BEST Club in England!!!

    Come on YOU MIGHTY REDS!!!


  9. Fellow Comrades of the Mighty Red Army..
    as a fan based here in Sarawak, malaysian borneo, i must admit that the news of DIC wanting to buy Hickabilly’s share sounds interesting. hopefully they do buy and we can finally start work on the new stadium. with increased capacity of the Kop Choir in the new stadium, i believe the chants will reach us here in Borneo.

    of course with the bigger stadium means more revenue for the club which = more funds for the gaffer in the transfer window to upgrade the team season to season.

    I dearly hope that if DIC eventually buy Hicks shares we would no longer be treated like garbage.

    and our dear comrade Wesley from South Afrika, as for players, getting big names of course sounds exciting, but lets not forget that so called “big” names that came to our club never quite made it. e.g. Gonzo, Morientes, Cisse never quite made the mark.

    so called big names that joined Chelsea also never look promising. Goldilocks Schevchenko for that sake

    so, if the gaffer is going 20M – 26M on any player, let it be players that can deliver straight away like our current maestro Torres and Super Stevie G.

    Keep the views coming comrades.

    Till then, Cheers from RED BORNEO

  10. “Hicks’ aim is to make a profit, and he seems to feel he can do this without actually winning anything, because the fan base are loyal and will keep coming to games even if the league isn’t being challenged for each season”

    The truth is well mentioned in here, and the sole reason why the Americans bought the club in the first place.

    I don’t think it’ll be the same case with DIC , because the head of DIC is big fan of LFC, and “It took me more than two weeks to get over with it” comment after the club was sold to these greedy Americans.

    “Shall all hate the Americans for they all are the same”

  11. Kibin Nila

    What i mean is that Rafa has had to buy ‘bargains’ like Josemi, Bellamy, Crouch, etc…

    Compare this to Manure and Chelski who are able to attract players like Hargreaves, Anderson, Tevez, Malouda, Ballack, etc…

    What do you think of getting Raul from Real Madrid???

    Or Ibrahimovic from Inter???

  12. I’ve read your article, and found 1 thing very interesting: Liverpool may carry a debt which it has to pay 30 mil per year for interest. That means how much the board plan to pay per year. I don’t a big club like Liverpool could earn per year, but with this kind of high interest, could it possibly means
    1. The budget of player transfer in will be limited, and the salary of players will be set to curtain limit as well?
    2. Liverpool FC must fight hard every year to eligible for European Championship or grab the League title every year, which is a good thing for us fan, but failing to do so would cause tumbling at club financial?
    3. If the club’s financial really at stake, would it mean that Torres and Gerrald will be hanging a board in front of their chest, saying, ” I’m for sale, cuz our club nned the money?”
    4. And by the selling of all the Top player in the squad, our favorite REDs loss their compete with other Top clubs, the club will fall into an endless nightmare
    No money = No Top player = No trophy = No money which is an endless cycle.

    or maybe H&G have the special, by just one appointment, the next manager straight away take us to league trophy and endless glory, us fan will be very pleased.

    But if failing to do so could mean great harm to Liverpool FC. Just like a gamble. I’m hoping that some one who know more about liverpool’s details could tell me. Is liverpool’s future at gamble now?,

  13. great article hicks and gillett need to know that the club is in our hearts and not just a way to make money rafa is a great manager
    shankley would be turning in his grave if he knew what was happening to our beloved club


  14. may GOD help us to get rid out of those bluff yanks AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and the DIC would come and help our beloved club to conquest in England again.At least Mr Mahmoud is a LFC fan and can feel for our club. Those yanks and Mr Perry had deceived us!!!!!!

  15. does nobody else blame parry for this mess.he got these guys in he cocked up the tickets for athens and the communication problems between rafa and g&h where his responsibility everything he touches turns into a nightmare and know foster gillet is at th club whats his job? hope g&h take him with them

  16. and another thing regarding protesting about g&h.we moan they dont do things the lfc way and aire our dirty linen in public.well shouting sack the board (or owners)is not the liverpool way either all it does is feed the media frenzy and give our rivals a good rafa and the team and keepthe protests to sites like this,they’ll still get the message

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