Hicks and Gillett to reveal plans on Monday

Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr will be in England on Monday to announce their takeover bid for five-times Champions of Europe Liverpool FC.

The two American investors have had their informal offer informally accepted by David Moores – the formalities will begin next week, in a move that will see chairman David Moores net an amount believed to be as high as £88m for his majority shareholding.

A press conference will revealt that current Chief Executive Rick Parry will be remaining in place at the club after the takeover keeping a high-profile position in the new-look organisation. Hicks and Gillett have gone halves on this deal, which will cost them a total of £470m.

Concerns remain amongst Liverpool fans, who had only accepted the previous DIC offer reluctantly after being convinced by Moores and Parry that it was 100% the right deal for the club. Will we ever find out the truth about what happened?

It does seem that Liverpool’s preferred bidder was DIC when their only
competition was Gillett alone. The Gillett-Hicks partnership seems to
have been seen by the club as a much better proposition for the club
than Gillett alone, and enough for the club to reconsider their
position. Did DIC give Liverpool a 12-hour ultimatum? Rick Parry says
they did, DIC say they didn’t. Somebody isn’t being honest.

Liverpool have been unable to reveal how the new Hicks-Gillett deal had
suddenly become so attractive because of reasons of confidentiality,
but that should end on Monday at the expected press conference. Parry
wasn’t even able to reveal that Hicks was involved initially, but said
yesterday that his involvement made the bid much stronger: “While we
have always had a good relationship with George Gillett,” said Parry,
“it’s clear the involvement of Tom Hicks adds another dimension and
considerable strength to the bid.”

Earlier in the week Parry had asked for fans to trust him and hinted
that more information was on its way: “Whatever decision is finally
taken will be done so in the best interests of Liverpool Football Club.
When we have more to say, we are sure it will be good news and the
right news. We had a duty as directors to consider a very interesting
bid from George Gillett. The price is not a factor in David Moores’
mind. He is not after cash for himself, absolutely not. But he felt
compelled to consider the rival bid.”

It was at this time that Parry revealed the DIC alleged ultimatum: “The
DIC response to this was to give the club 12 hours to make a decision,
but the chairman was not prepared to have Liverpool Football Club
bullied like that. We would also stress this is not a question of going
for the second choice. David has always given George Gillett serious
consideration while at the same time we didn’t want to rush into any
decision, and we were aware DIC might walk away.”

Parry also hinted that the new bid was much better than the one DIC had
supposedly been offering: “The fans have trusted David to do the right
thing in the past and can be sure that’s what he’s doing now. If they
thought the Dubai bid was good, rest assured he is now considering a
different course for the right reasons.”

Yesterday though an unnamed DIC spokesman told the Liverpool Echo that
there hadn’t been an ultimatum as such, but that with the press
conference set for Monday the DIC officials needed to know whether or
not to book their flights!

This spokesman said: “If the fans want to know what’s happened, David
Moores suffered what I can only describe as a mental aberration, just
when the agreement was about to be reached. The fans are bemused, and
we at DIC are just as bemused by the past few days. Liverpool Football
Club has been looking for years and years for an investor, going
through numerous suitors. They came to the conclusion DIC were the best
people. We’ve been working closely with advisors for the last six to
eight weeks, and spent a lot of time preparing a deal.”

DIC’s CEO is reportedly a Liverpool supporter, but his boss isn’t. It
seems various deadlines weren’t met by DIC and various changes were
made to the offer, if leaked information is to be believed. Liverpool
were already getting cold feet and starting to be concerned about the
deal before Gillett and Hicks arrived with their new and improved
offer. The propaganda about DIC being supporters of the club helped
them to sneak their plans past a lot of Liverpool fans, and their
spokesman was continuing to use that yesterday: “We are genuine
supporters who not only wanted to invest in the club, but to do so by
keeping Mr Moores and Rick Parry in place. The announcement was going
to be made this Monday. Then, 10 days ago, we heard from the press
George Gillett had made another bid. No-one from Liverpool told us
this, and when we asked what was happening they said they didn’t know
why a bid was made other than to muddy the waters. Then we read a
formal statement from Liverpool announcing Gillett’s bid last Friday.
Again, DIC were informed by a journalist.”

It would come as no surprise to hear that Parry and Moores were unable
to communicate in an effective way with DIC, just look back to the way
Steven Gerrard felt unwanted in the summer of 2005. Gerrard did
overreact to the situation, but it was a situation that need never have
happened had Parry and Moores been better communicators. Even if the
DIC deal suddenly looked to be unattractive, it wouldn’t have hurt to
keep DIC informed. “This lack of communication made our guys tense,”
the DIC spokesman said.

It was on Tuesday night that details of a board meeting, held in London
ahead of the West Ham fixture, was leaked to the Press Association. The
DIC spokesman said that leaked news was how they found out about them
no longer being the only bidders under discussion: “On Tuesday, we
expected the board meeting to accept our proposals. Instead, we found
out the board was discussing George Gillett’s offer, once again through
the press. Even on Tuesday night we could get no answers from Mr Moores
and Mr Parry, even though we had a representative at the West Ham
match. The people back in Dubai thought they weren’t being told what’s
going on.”

There’s little doubt that DIC knew through other sources that the
Gillett-Hicks deal was much improved, leaks wouldn’t be confined to
what the Press Association were told. In many ways their true colours
as being businessmen well ahead of being fans were shown. Rather than
try to improve their own offer, they tried to pressure Liverpool into
rushing a decision. The reason this unnamed spokesman gave for needing
a quick decision was laughable: “There was no ultimatum given, but we
did make it clear we needed to know quickly if the press conference was
going ahead on Monday because DIC officials needed to know if they
should book their flights.” So the big worry for DIC, about to spend
half-a-billion pounds on buying Liverpool FC, was whether or not they
should spend a couple of thousand pounds on flight to the UK!

In fact the spokesman revealed a little more: “Once word got back to
Dubai on Tuesday there were no answers from Liverpool, the word from on
high was this is bad for our reputation and it all stops right now.”
DIC didn’t want to look a soft touch to their other potential
investment opportunities. Perhaps it was a lucky escape for the club.