Shortly after the “independent” members of the Liverpool FC board had issued a statement through the club’s official website about their fight with co-owner Tom Hicks, the Texan issued a statement of his own.
It didn’t appear on the club’s official site.
And George Gillett remains in hiding, even if the statement is claimed to come from both owners.
Hicks’ statement said:
In April, we confirmed our agreement to sell Liverpool Football Club, and appointed a new chairman and advisers to oversee the process.
At that time we and Martin Broughton stated our commitment to finding the right buyer for LFC, one that could support and sustain the club in the future. We remain committed to that goal.
The owners have invested more than $270 million in cash into the club, and during their tenure revenues have nearly doubled, investment in players has increased and the club is one of the most profitable in the EPL.
As such, the board has been presented with offers that we believe dramatically undervalue the club.
To be clear, there is no change in our commitment to finding a buyer for Liverpool Football Club at a fair price that reflects the very significant investment we’ve made.
We will, however, resist any attempt to sell the club without due process or agreement by the owners.
The “cash” referred to was actually lent to the club and its parent companies through inter-company loans. Instead of being committed as equity, it was lent to the club, the owners perhaps hoping they would be afforded more protection that way.
The club’s statement reported that Hicks had tried to force Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre off the board, in the hope of replacing them with his son Mack and the new lady in the Hicks Holdings boardroom, Lori McCutcheon. Casey Coffman left the Hicks camp in allegedly controversial circumstances earlier in the year.
The club’s statement referred to the offers as “excellent financial offers”. Although their resistance of Hicks’ attempts to overthrow them is to be applauded, there is a concern that their opinion of what constitutes an excellent offer may not match that of the fans.
The Board of Directors have received two excellent financial offers to buy the Club that would repay all its long-term debt. A Board meeting was called today to review these bids and approve a sale. Shortly prior to the meeting, the owners – Tom Hicks and George Gillett – sought to remove Managing Director Christian Purslow and Commercial Director Ian Ayre from the Board, seeking to replace them with Mack Hicks and Lori Kay McCutcheon.
This matter is now subject to legal review and a further announcement will be made in due course.
Meanwhile Martin Broughton, Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre continue to explore every possible route to achieving a sale of the Club at the earliest opportunity.
A video released shortly before the club issued its statement sent a clear message to Hicks: “Go”.
Hicks’ best option of forcing the board out is to find someone other than RBS to refinance the debt. His actions tonight would suggest he’s failed to achieve that. Many are describing his efforts as the hallmark of a desperate man.