And then there were none.

A statement from Kenny Huang and QSL on last night announced that he had formally withdrawn from the process to sell Liverpool Football Club to new owners. Huang said: “I am now considering my future options and will be making no further comment at this time.”

No reason was given in the statement for the decision, but it is believed he had grown frustrated by the apparent slow pace of a process in which he firmly believed he was the only viable bidder.

Broughton pictured with other biddersNow there are doubts about how genuine Martin Broughton was when he said that the club would be sold to the best bidder. It suggested that, contrary to his claims, the current owners were not only able to block the sale of the club but were actively doing so.

It also suggested that Martin Broughton was not taking the bid seriously and in turn created doubts that he was even taking the sales process seriously.

Broughton once said: “I have always taken the view that if you’re not at the table you’re likely to be on the menu.” He now finds himself sitting alone at the table; there’s nothing palatable on the menu. And he has nobody else to blame.

Suggestions that Huang and QSL hadn’t provided proof of funding are wide of the mark. Sources at both British banks involved in the club’s current predicament have disputed those claims.

Anfield Road has learned that proof of funding for the bid was supplied by a merchant bank and was checked and approved by both RBS and Barclays. In the eyes of the banks the bid is viable.

Huang had good reason to believe that no other credible bids had been put in front of the board; he wasn’t basing that belief purely on guesswork. He knew there were no other credible bids.

Even so, the likelihood of there being any other viable bids on the table, let alone four, is extremely doubtful based purely on what is in the public domain.

One supposed bidder was last linked to the club in March, before Broughton’s arrival at the club. At that time Christian Purslow was tasked with finding in the region of £100m of new investment before Easter.

The only offer he could find would come from the Rhône Group. They offered £110m for a 40% share of the club, a figure that would value the club at £275m. The fact Hicks and Gillett are now resisting an offer of £400m speaks volumes not only about the inadequacy of that Rhône offer but also about why they aren’t at the table now the whole club is on the block.

Comments from Keith Harris were taken as meaning he was looking to bring somebody to the table – but a closer look suggested that maybe this wasn’t his intention at all. “All I am prepared to say is that we have looked at it very carefully on behalf of would-be buyers, who we know are very serious, we know are cash rich, we know have the right incentive and are prepared to take a long-term view. I can’t say any more at the minute. We have represented a buyer in the past and that is an ongoing situation.” In fact the buyer he represented in the past was the Al Kharafi family of Kuwait, a family he would later serve with a writ for failing to pay their bill for his work on that bid. That family are now believed to be too busy with other concerns to be able to get involved in a renewed bid for Liverpool FC.

Claims that Sharjah’s Al Qasemi royal family were another interested party have also been dismissed as highly unlikely.

One potential owner from India made it clear he would not be involved in a bid for the club despite having given the idea serious consideration in the past. A spokesman for Subrata Roy’s Sahara Group said earlier in the month: “The deal for the acquisition of Liverpool Football Club was in our consideration in the recent past. However, after considering all related factors, we have decided not to go ahead with it, at least for the time being.”

And that more or less rounds up all the possible candidates for ownership. The owners have spent the last two-and-a-half years and no doubt huge advisor fees looking for buyers or investors and have failed to find a single one. The idea that anyone could find four new potential buyers in the space of a few weeks is considered highly unlikely. About as unlikely as Yahya Kirdi opening his solarium at his new Anfield to provide solar power for the benefit of Liverpudlians.

Claims were also made during the week that Peter Kenyon was representing Huang and QSL in negotiations with the club and had been for some months.

However Kenyon was not representing QSL or Huang and was not negotiating on their behalf with Liverpool FC.

Kenyon, as part of his role with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), is understood to have been involved in a proposed bid from India for the Reds. The proposal got to an advanced stage before it collapsed. After officially leaving Chelsea earlier this month Kenyon is understood to have approached QSL with a view to offering CAA’s help in their bid.

CAA had got as far as setting up the legal entity (known as an SPV, or Special Purpose Vehicle) that would be used as part of their acquisition and were offering QSL the option of taking this over. CAA and Kenyon also made QSL aware of their close relationships with key contacts built up during their previous work on the bid for the club.

Had QSL taken up the offer of help from CAA they would have paid a fee to CAA for this work. Kenyon would not have been involved in any way with Liverpool Football Club after the deal for the club was complete.

Kenyon’s past as the head of both Manchester United and Chelsea makes him something of a hate figure amongst Liverpool supporters, at least when his name is mentioned. When the idea was floated that Kenyon had been a secret part of Huang’s bid for the past few months it raised concerns amongst many Liverpool supporters.

Whoever leaked the exaggerated and indeed false claims knew there would be a negative reaction. They probably hoped it would lead to an angry backlash against Huang. The story was reported in good faith, breaking as Liverpool were actually on the field in their Europa League tie. Very few individuals would have been aware of any involvement from Kenyon.

Anfield Road understands that other efforts to discredit the QSL bid or to stall the process as a whole have been made by George Gillett.

Gillett is understood to have informed the banks of an imminent and credible bid from the Syrian Yahya Kirdi as soon as Kenny Huang made his initial approach for the club. The suggestion was that he was trying to block any move by Kenny Huang by revealing he had received a credible offer of his own.

However all of Kirdi’s potential credibility disappeared as claims made by him or for him would be shown to be more than a little doubtful.  He wasn’t a billionaire or part of a consortium of billionaires – he was a former pizza shop and off-licence owner. As soon as he admitted this he claimed to now be in the stadium construction business – a claim he is yet to back up with a single example of a stadium project he has been involved in.

His other claims have been discussed and dismissed previously on Anfield Road. Kirdi is now by and large a figure of fun and considered a fantasist.

Gillett’s attempts to stall the process don’t stop at trying to hoodwink the fans, the banks and board with comedians acting as investors. He is also said to be determined to discredit Huang’s bid.

Anfield Road learned that journalists in the US and Hong Kong had been approached and offered a reward to find out anything that could be used to smear Huang and his bid. That’s not to say that any negative stories relating to Huang were uncovered by journalists in Gillett’s employ, in fact the nearest any reports have been to revealing anything negative but remotely relevant about Huang didn’t come from US or Hong-Kong reporters. Not every reporter approached took the offer up.

Gillett will have been alarmed at to learn Huang was being taken seriously not only by BarCap and RBS but also by some senior officials at the club. When he realised that Huang had shown proof of funds his worst fears were starting to be realised.

Anfield Road understands that Gillett, discussing the takeover story off the record with some US-based financial reporters, claimed that certain members of the UK press were taking financial inducements to report Huang’s bid in a more favourable light than it deserved.

Gillett apparently even indicated which reporters he was referring to, perhaps not expecting those claims to make their way across the pond and back to the reporters he’d referred to.

The claims were laughed off extremely loudly and taken as a sign of the desperation that George Gillett had found himself in.

Everything about Gillett’s actions suggested he was on the ropes. Hicks wasn’t even in the ring any more having been left seeing stars when the sale of his Texas Rangers baseball franchise didn’t go his way. Finally there was a chance to deliver the knockout blow to these owners. They were all but beaten and outnumbered too.

Then Broughton bottled out. Instead of knocking them out and winning the battle for the club he let them get back up. He gave them a glimmer of hope, a chance to fight back.

He could have been a hero; he could have been the champ.

He ended up the chump.

And there’s no telling where Liverpool will end up.

18 thoughts on “And then there were none.”

  1. I don’t like the owners or the situation that the club is in, but this blog that has been written is nothing more than speculation.

    It has the overtones of someone who is paranoid, and as such it reminds me of this quote:

    “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aint got it in for me”.

    Now don’t get me wrong but what your saying could all be true, but surely your missing a vital point which proves that maybe your just being paranoid with a twist of a persecution complex.

    If the Huang bid had been scuppered by Broughton then surely Huang would say that was what happend. Huang didn’t say why he left so to suggest that he was fobbed off can’t be proved.

    For all we know Huang could have been just as bad as the others, he said all the right things but so did twit & twat.

    The one thing which is true though is that RBS will not force a sale for two reasons:

    1. It will make them public enemy number 1 as LFC will get points dedected.

    2. Twit & twat aren’t in danger of losing the club which ios contrary that what SOS would have you believe. There have been a number of top financial experts and advisors that have said that to be the case. The only people who like the story that they could lose the club are the papers because it is just the sensationalist story that sells papers.

  2. Jim I think you need to put this site on a different server because 9 times out of 10 when you try to load the site it either times out or the site just wasn’t found.

  3. There was always something wrong about Huang’s bid, too many false reports. Why did he go public with the bid in the first place?? I think he was just a modern day Michael Knighton. Its time for the fans to put a bid together and save this club.

  4. THERE ALWAYS WAS NONE

    The club will not be sold until someone steps up and writes a check to RBS and makes them go away. If Huang could write that check, why didn’t he?

    Buyers come with a check or a story. If it’s a story, it needs to be more than “viable” in the eyes of a “Merchant Bank”, whatever that means. RBS thinks it’s viable when the check clears.

    Trust me, Mr. Huang is a promoter, not a buyer. If the “Club” jumps in bed with a “promoter” and a “story”, there will have to be a divorce before another wedding.

  5. If true this is shocking. Having followed this for the last few weeks to the detriment of hundreds of other things I have to say the Huang bid didn’t convince me but that may have been because of the smears. However it was a hell of a lot better than what we have and Kirdi, don’t make me laugh

  6. How much of that can you prove… to yourself, if not your readers?

    The Huang camp claims that they provided proof of funds, but this has not been corroborated by any other source.

    Surely the most convincing scenario, given how far the bid did/didn’t get, is that they may have provided some proof but presumably not in enough robust detail to satisfy BarCap and Broughton.

    That’s not to say they could not have done so, just that there is no proof whatsoever that this obvious sticking point was overcome to the proper satisfaction of the people in charge.

    I say proper satisfaction, because Broughton has a reputation to uphold. This is a short term post for him. It’s all very well highlighting links and implying motives, but the obvious fact is this is a short term task for a man who will be relying upon his reputation for future employment.

    He may well be caught between the devil and the deep blue sea but his relative silence, and the way he has stuck to the same line throughout this, has been in marked contrast to Huang, who made headline after headline, only leaving more and more questions. Not to say he didn’t have the answers, just that it made little sense for him to leave himself open to question without having the answers ready. If his aim was solely to buy the club, he didn’t need to make any public statement whatsoever.

    The lasting image of this affair is the unashamed plug for his new venture that made up half of the statement announcing his withdrawal.

    Still… Torres was persuaded to stay… Mascherano won’t leave….. You ought to realise what that means. There was a serious risk that the Americans would strip assets in order to keep the wolf from the door.

  7. @Matt, RBS confirmed to journalists that Huang had provided proof of funds. I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong, but I think it most likely that the reason the deal didn’t go through was because the board (perhaps not just Broughton) weren’t able to tell the owners they weren’t going to keep looking for new bids.
    Look at it from the point of view of a Chinese man, for whom honour is so important: Huang believes he has the only viable bid, and he makes it, offering proof of the means to do so. There is no reply. That insult drove him away.

  8. I’m stunned at just how so-called Liverpool fans are falling over themselves to buy into this whole vilification of Kenny Huang.
    It seems Gillett’s underground campaign with the press to ‘ugly’ him up work far better than his wildest dreams.
    Even more dumbfounding is the fact that ‘fans’ who no more than 12 months ago were justifiably spitting venom and invectives where the topic and persons of Hicks and Gillett were concerned, are now acting as if those two clowns are the better devil they know to the evil angel that Huang potentially could be.

    First of all, Huang’s claim to have provided proof of funding has not only been backed and corroborated by sources at both banks involved in this, but more importantly, it has not been disputed in any broad or categorical manner by Broughton or any member of the Liverpool board. You may argue that they have the right to keep that information to themselves, but you have to ask yourself, in light of the current PR mess that’s boiling up an building up over their seeming mishandling of this whole sale, why wouldn’t they just nip that speculation in the bud and come right out and officially confirm that Huang did not provide adequate proof of funds if that is indeed the case?
    In politics the best confirmation of a government/party decision is the absence of a straight and unequivocal denial. The same would seem to apply here as well.

    Secondly, for all of those funds that are claiming there’s nothing wrong with the club still waiting in H & G hands while a better buyer is sought (since Huang is no longer in the picture), don’t you realize that in the absence of more buyers or bidders, when they go and refinance the loan and ask the banks to extend the repayments, that that will increase the amount of debt from the current GBP237 to around if not well over GBP300? Which would of course make it a less palatable enticement for a prospective buyer with higher debt. In other words, the longer these two clowns hold onto the club while fans wait and hope for a magical billionaire to swoop in and take over, the less and less likely the club is to be sold as the debt increases and its saleability decreases. So celebrating the apparent fact that Huang is no longer in the picture because he was supposedly too impatient, is actually like shooting yourself in the foot especially if it turns out that he really was the only credible bidder as the Club just becomes a less appealing prospect for new buyers.

    I think the club is in a lot of trouble if they can not get Huang to get back to the table because frankly speaking, there are no other credible buyers out there. And it will be a long time before anyone turns up that is capable while we rot under the burden of debt by those two idiots.

  9. @anfield road

    certainly in the papers, there was no categorical statement regarding Huang’s proof of funds… all I personally remember was a comment regarding ‘several bids’ for which the proof of funds was ‘there or there abouts’. that could mean anything from, 4 out of 5 have provided everything, the 5th nothing, to all of them have complied with the basics, now we move onto the detail.

    as I say, that one comment is all I’ve seen.

    if you have been told otherwise in private, I respect that.

  10. @ matt

    Anfield Road has been informed by more than one source that the Huang/QSL bid had supplied proof of funding and that this was acceptable to all concerned.

  11. Yeah but Jim there is nothing to say that the reason that Huang left was because he wasn’t happy at being vetted. What I mean is for all you know Broughton may very well have been chekcing him out to make sure he was good as his word and he didn’t like it, Huang hasn’t come out and said that they are holding out for more money has he?

    you also don’t know that there are no more bids on the table, they have said that there is so why not just give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Now don’t take this the wrong way Jim but all your doing is exactly what the tabloids do and that is create a storm in a tea cup buy reacting on speculation and theory. You don’t know whats going on in the boardroom and you don’t know what is happening with regards to the deal, and they did say it was going to be done behind closed doors.

    Yousay you have sources, these sources are also the same sources that cause headlines to appear in the press, so again Jim without disrespecting you why should your source have any more credibility than a source that is quoted in any other paper?

  12. @ Mr F

    The Chinese bid are understood, unsurprisingly, to have built up extensive contacts during the time they have been preparing for this bid, preparations that have gone on for many months. The suggestion that is being made is that they have their own ways of finding out how many other bidders there are and how good their proposals actually are – and that they found out there weren’t any other bidders that met the quality of their bid.

    We’re all entitled to decide whether we believe that or not, just as we’re all entitled to look at other evidence – circumstantial or otherwise – to decide how likely it is that there are any other bidders.

    Have the club said they have other bids? The words used in their statement were “a number of bids”. That can actually mean one bid, “1” is a number!

    The process may be going on behind closed doors but that doesn’t mean leaks won’t happen.

    The various sources Anfield Road has – not just me but others involved in what goes onto the site – might well overlap with the sources used by the mainstream media. There’s certainly no intention from me or this site to suggest the sources used in articles anywhere else are less credible than those used on here.

    As for what Huang has come out and said – he’s said very little himself at all from day one. But that doesn’t mean information reported as being from sources close to him should be disregarded. And in the last couple of days that information included a suggestion that Huang felt there was no other reason to delay the deal than for it to be down to waiting for a bigger offer.

    I stand by what I said in my own article earlier in the day though – there are a number of ways that the club could have indicated that the Chinese bid lacked credibility without breaking any non-disclosure agreements or even naming names. The benefit of the doubt for me – personally – was that at some point this weekend they’d have made a statement to that effect and reassured supporters that the sales process was still ongoing and unaffected by any recent announcements.

  13. Jim the club said also “bids”,that is plural so it means there is more than one, and Huang would of course blow his own trumpet by saying that his bid was by far better than anyone elses.

    For the record though Jim if Huang can get to know who else was involved then why is it that pushy hacks haven’t been able too, surely to god they would also be privvy to such details?

    Like I said I do understand where your comming from Jim,but I am just going to hang fire and see what unfolds in the next few months I am prepaered to give it a bit longer before my BOD is removed.

  14. I don’t know now Jim, Im beginging to think you’re just winding us up with this stuff. I’m reading you a long time now – I cant believe you’re that taken in by the chinese story, and please tell me your source isn’t Mr doom & gloom Tony Evans

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