Liverpool board accept bid


LONDON, October 6 – The board of directors at Liverpool has accepted an offer by New England Sports Ventures, owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, to buy the English football club, a statement said Wednesday.Chairman Martin Broughton hit out at Liverpool’s current American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, for trying to block the sale and said he hoped the deal would allow the team to focus on building the team.

"I am delighted that we have been able to successfully conclude the sale process which has been thorough and extensive," Broughton said in the statement on the club’s website.

"The board decided to accept NESV’s proposal on the basis that it best met the criteria we set out originally for a suitable new owner. NESV’s philosophy is all about winning and they have fully demonstrated that at the Red Sox."

Broughton said the board had met the US group in Boston, London and Liverpool in recent weeks and he was "immensely impressed with what they have achieved and with their vision for Liverpool Football Club."

He added: "By removing the burden of acquisition debt, this offer allows us to focus on investment in the team.

"I am only disappointed that the owners have tried everything to prevent the deal from happening and that we need to go through legal proceedings in order to complete the sale."

The offers came a day after Hicks and Gillett attempted to remove two senior figures from the club’s board of directors.

Hicks and Gillett were under pressure to sell the club with an October 15 deadline for the repayment of their 282-million-pounds (448-million-dollars) loans from the Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia.

New England Sports Ventures is a group headed by John William Henry II and Tom Werner.

Liverpool were put up for sale by the unpopular Hicks and Gillett in April, who initially sought an asking price of around 800 million pounds, a figure that they subsequently dropped to 600 million.

The American pair have become increasingly unpopular on Merseyside with supporters blaming the duo for Liverpool’s fall from grace.

The disappointment of last season’s seventh-place finish has intensified this term with Rafa Benitez’s replacement Roy Hodgson unable to lift the team.

The Reds exited the League Cup at home to League Two Northampton on penalties before going down 2-1 to newly-promoted Blackpool at Anfield on Sunday.