Further to earlier reports, Dubai International Capital are now denying having put a deadline of midnight on their offer for Liverpool FC.
Earlier reports said that DIC had made an offer last Wednesday of £400m for LFC, representing a profit of £25m each for current owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks.
Then DIC chief executive Sameer al-Ansari gave the first admission from DIC that they’d been trying to buy into the Reds: “It’s no secret that we have been in discussions with the current owners,” he said. “It’s not easy because the owners are in dreamland about valuations at the moment.” He later confirmed it was not both owners any more, as one of them “had come out of dreamland”.
Later came a report in the Liverpool Echo that spoke of a deadline of midnight. But a DIC spokesperson, Jehad Saleh, would not confirm anything more than the previously stated admission that talks were taking place. No admission of an offer, no mention of a price, and a claim that no deadlines had been set. Saleh said: “No figures have been (publicly) mentioned, and talks are ongoing. No timeline has been set on the talks.”
Considering DIC have only this morning admitted for the first time publicly their renewed interest in the club, it’s no surprise to hear a spokesperson add nothing extra. DIC have preferred to avoid direct quotes on the issue, instead using an agency to brief the press as it suited them. We are unlikely to be wide of the mark if we assume the claim of a midnight deadline came from DIC via their agency.
At the moment it’s only DIC and those working for DIC who are revealing anything. Gillett has maintained his silence since December, and a statement from him would be very much out of the blue.
Hicks is of course – assuming he’s not in London or Dubai as rumoured – in Texas and on a different time-zone to UK, six hours behind. He is likely to make a statement as time goes on. Reports of al-Ansari’s admission were hitting the news at breakfast time in England, but it was the middle of the night in Texas. In Dubai it was four hours ahead of Britain, ten hours ahead of Texas. DIC are attacking their enemies as they sleep.
Of course wherever he is, Hicks can get his PR advisors out of bed anytime to help him work on a statement, but it makes more sense to wait until those advisors, based in New York, are fully alert as they draft any response. But his priority over the course of today is to make his decision on this offer, not to talk about whether he needs to or not. He’ll know what the true deadline is, and he’ll know if he’s been bluffing in the hope of an increased bid or really can afford to turn it down.