You cannot be Syrias (Liverpool ownership)

Zebedee

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You cannot be Syrias?
Posted on August 1st, 2010 by Anfield Road

George Gillett claims firm interest from a potential buyer – but all, as ever, is not as it seems.

As the clock ticks ever closer to the end of another deflating transfer window for Liverpool Football Club, Anfield Road has learned that George Gillett has informed Royal Bank of Scotland and chairman Martin Broughton that he has found a serious investor who is interested in buying the club.

Time to rejoice?

Maybe not.

Anfield Road understands that George Gillett and LFC’s mystery saviour is ex-Syrian international footballer and millionaire businessman Yahya Kirdi.

Gillett and Kirdi (pic: greatrednorth.wordpress.com)First linked with the club shortly after Martin Broughton’s appointment back in April it was intimated that the Syrian, who was using ex-Celtic player Andy Lynch as a spokesperson for the bid, had the support of “mystery billionaire backers from the Middle East”, a line which should send a shiver down the spine of anyone who’s kept an eye on either Portsmouth or Notts County under the stewardship of Sulaiman Al Fahim and Qadbak/Munto Finance respectively over the last 18 months.

Notwithstanding the Notts County and Portsmouth situation, it is understood that even the most rudimentary checks carried out on Mr Kirdi at the time of the initial interest showed his interest and capacity to put together a deal to be fanciful at best.

Needless to say, nothing ever came of the supposed interest, but it begs the question: if Yahya Kirdi has neither the inclination nor, more importantly, the means to complete a deal for LFC, why bother putting his name in the firing line in the first place, and to what benefit is it to Gillett for him to do so?

That is the question that we at Anfield Road have been trying to find an answer to for the last few days.

Exactly what Mr Kirdi has to gain from any involvement is still unclear, it may very well be nothing more than a favour to long-time friend Foster Gillett to help his father out of what is an increasingly tight spot. He does not appear to have anything like the desire for publicity as Prince Faisal bin Fahad bin Abdullah, Mr Gillett’s previous stalking horse, whose appetite for a photo-op was only matched by the vulgarity of his sunglasses.

And to what end does it benefit Gillett?

It is believed that Gillett was panicked into submitting this new bid for the club under pressure from RBS, and by doing such, delayed any potential forced sale to any other potential buyer as RBS are legally required to listen, as current incumbents, to any such bid brought by either George Gillett or Tom Hicks.

The reasons for Gillett stalling the deal are fairly simple; it is clear that the interest anticipated by both himself and Tom Hicks hasn’t materialised and they are facing the reality of walking away with nowhere near the figure they had in mind when they appointed Martin Broughton to oversee the sale process.

By forcing an extension it gives Gillett time to, yet again, board a flight to the Middle East, replete with his begging bowl, in an attempt to force an auction for the club with scant regard, as ever, for the club or its supporters which in reality only serves to deter interested observers as they are understandably reluctant to be ripped off by this particular snake-oil seller.

It is worth bearing in mind that whilst it is Martin Broughton’s duty to sell the club to the best possible candidate (not necessarily the highest bidder), Gillett is only interested in getting the highest possible price for his stake in the club.

There is more than a hint of irony in all of this as it was only last month Gillett was letting it be known to certain members of the press that he was desperate to sell, but it was the greed of Tom Hicks that was holding up a sale.

Not that we should be surprised by this; Gillett has always been the “cute” one of the arrangement, Tom Hick’s inability to keep his foot out of his mouth and his name out of the papers allowed Gillett to keep a relatively low profile, two incidents apart when he was caught lying on record by both SOS and a fan who had the nous to record a conversation in which it was a struggle to pick out a single truth.

That aside, and ultimately more importantly at the minute, is that what isn’t clear is just how much extra time RBS are legally obliged to grant this proven liar to play his silly games and how much time they are affording him out of courtesy or misguided loyalty. By affording Gillett such grace, RBS are playing a dangerous game with the future of one of the most important football clubs in the world.

Anfield Road is aware that an absolutely serious party is ready and willing to move in right now. Further delay will be disastrous for the club and unless the bankers at RBS finally come to terms with the reality of the situation they risk facing a disaster of their own with the money they have tied up in the club.

It may take further pressure from supporters, SOS and ultimately Martin Broughton to force RBS to bring an end to this sorry charade, kicking Gillett and Hicks out and allowing suitable, capable and committed ownership in.
http://www.anfieldroad.com/news/201008013844/you-cannot-be-syrias.html/#more-3844

Last time Kirdi was linked with buying the club was just before refinancing was needed.

Some simple facts about Liverpool:

This past financial year, we'll have been scalped for around £20m in interest payments at club level (even more higher up the chain). This past financial year, we have made a profit of roughly £18m in the transfer market.
 

Zebedee

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Sunday Times for today:

Mystery Syrian fronts bid to buy Liverpool

A mysterious Syrian businessman is in talks to become an investor in Liverpool football club.

George Gillett, the club’s co-owner, is negotiating a deal with Yahya Kirdi, a former Syrian international footballer who claims to have financial backing in the Middle Eastern.

Gillett is believed to have decided that Kirdi is the most credible investor to have expressed interest in the club since it was put up for sale earlier this year.

Gillett is keen to do business with the Syrian and has introduced him to senior officials at Anfield and the Royal Bank of Scotland, who are owed about £300m by the club.

However, there are doubts about Kirdi and whether he has the finances to make an investment. This is the second time he has held talks on a takeover. In April, there were reports that he was in advanced discussions with Gillett. The talks were brokered by Andy Lynch, a Celtic footballer and teammate of Kop legend Kenny Dalglish during the 1970s.

However, the discussions broke down and Lynch claimed that Gillett had reneged on an agreed deal.
 

Zebedee

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Garr, every time I read a story like this I feel like punching a Kitten.
Makes me want to punch those two idiots :)

They're not going to make a killing on Liverpool. They're taking us to the brink of administration by messing about like this. And they're in danger of destroying a decade's worth of work which had pulled us back into a position where genuine league challenges every season looked like a real possibility again.
 

Mike.

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Feb 15, 2009
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Makes me want to punch those two idiots :)

They're not going to make a killing on Liverpool. They're taking us to the brink of administration by messing about like this. And they're in danger of destroying a decade's worth of work which had pulled us back into a position where genuine league challenges every season looked like a real possibility again.
either they havent clocked onto this, or they really really dont care. dangerous times
 

Max

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Apr 14, 2009
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My hate grows for them once again, ruining one of Britains best teams, if not best on history, absolute muppets.
 

eFusion

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I've always had this gut feeling from the very beginning that there was something fishy about those two. The moment I laid eyes on them, I knew there were gonna be rough times ahead for Liverpool. I'd like nothing better than to get rid of them as quickly as possible, but there's a slight chance of the club falling into the clutches of an even worse owner. *shudders*
 

snooloui

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I think the same could be said for Man Utd. Stupid new owners ruining perfectly good teams.
 

gamerholic

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I've always had this gut feeling from the very beginning that there was something fishy about those two. The moment I laid eyes on them, I knew there were gonna be rough times ahead for Liverpool. I'd like nothing better than to get rid of them as quickly as possible, but there's a slight chance of the club falling into the clutches of an even worse owner. *shudders*
i second that...:mad:
 

Ride The Walrus

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Jan 1, 2010
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I blame Parry and the FA, the FA for passing them in their fit and proper test, and Parry because he agreed to them because they promised to let him keep his job.
 

eFusion

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I'm afraid if we don't get buyers within this transfer window, we're more or less screwed for the rest of the season. And we'll probably lose the big players at the end.
 

Scott

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I feel sorry for liverpool FC, as much as i can. the fans deserve better, but something like this always brings a little smile to me.
 

Steve*

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Dec 30, 2009
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If the club dont change hands by the end of the season i fear that torres and a few other big names will leave. The club is in dire need of proper investment and were not going to get it off the Yanks who have plunged this great club in debt and the clubs reputation is suffering because of them.
 

eFusion

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I feel sorry for liverpool FC, as much as i can. the fans deserve better, but something like this always brings a little smile to me.
lol.....thanks for the sympathy(however measly it may be :p ). With the huge debt, I doubt potential buyers are lining up to take over as originally claimed by the greedy bastards. Even if they did, they'd still manage to scare them away with their unreasonably high price-tag.
 

Zebedee

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I feel sorry for liverpool FC, as much as i can. the fans deserve better, but something like this always brings a little smile to me.
It's ok Scott, I'll show some sympathy too when the huge ticking time bomb the Glazers are sitting on explodes on you guys and you discover that they've sold off Carrington and Old Trafford to pay back their bonds. If you ask the Arabs at Eastlands nicely, they might let you groundshare if that happens. ;)

---------- Post added at 10:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:45 PM ----------

This may be in the Times tomorrow:

Liverpool's ownership battle picked up pace yesterday when it emerged that Kenny Huang was in negotiations with Royal Bank of Scotland to take control over of Anfield.

Huang, who is partnered by one of the biggest sovereign wealth funds in the Far East, is determined to wrest control of the club from Tom Hicks and George Gillett before the transfer window closes. Last month, the Chinese tycoon made approaches to a number of key figures at Anfield to emphasise the seriousness of the bid in an attempt to forestall a summer exodus of players.

Fernando Torres, who reports back to training today, will be asked to delay any decision on his future until the outcome of the takeover is known.

Liverpool have been up for sale since April, when the American owners appointed Martin Broughton, the British Airways chairman, to oversee any deal. However, as late as last week no viable bidder had come to the table and Broughton has not moved the process on.

Hicks and Gillett too over at Anfield three years ago in a leveraged buyout and owe RBS in the region of £237 million. The bank extended the loan after the appointment of Broughton but has become increasingly agitated at the lack of bidders. Hicks has consistently stated an asking price of £800 million but business analysts consider this figure unrealistic, with £325 million a more reasonable pricetag. The Huang approach guarantees RBS, which is under public ownership, the repayment of the vast majority of the loan as the Chinese bid guarantees to clear Liverpool's debt.

Huang has an impressive track record as head of QSL Sports, a Hong Kong-based investment company. He was instrumental in bringing Yau Ming, the basketball superstar, to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA. Sources close to the Chinese said that Hueng was eager to push the deal through rapidly to make use of the transfer window. Roy Hodgson, the manager, would be given significant funds to add to a squad that dropped out of the top four and the Champions League places last season.

A successful Chinese-backed Liverpool would allow the new owners to make significant inroads in the vast Far Eastern market, which has emerged as the financial Holy Grail to Premier League clubs over the past decade. New senior staff would be brought to Anfield to spearhead the drive into Asia.

As well as generating revenue in overseas markets, Huang plans to build a new stadium as quickly as possible. The Americans made a similar promise in February 2007, pledging that ground would be broken on the Stanley Park site within 60 days but work has still not started on the new Anfield.
Daily Fail gets story right shocker?

s Gillett deal a Red herring? Liverpool co-owner George said to be holding out for £600m takeover

By Chris Wheeler Last updated at 10:15 PM on 1st August 2010

Worried man: Liverpool co-owner George Gillett

There are growing concerns at Anfield that Liverpool co-owner George Gillett is trying to slow down a takeover that falls short of his £600million valuation, by drafting in rival bidders.
Gillett is worried that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which is owed £300m by the club, are holding talks with potential buyers who would give him a smaller return on his investment.

Middle East businessman Yahya Kirdi re-emerged as a potential investor yesterday for the second time in four months and is said to be the American's preferred option.

The former Syria football international, who claims to represent a consortium of wealthy Arab businessmen, is reported to have been introduced to senior figures from Anfield and RBS.

But Kirdi, who is a close friend of Gillett's son Foster, was dismissed as a serious option when he was linked with Liverpool in April and talks broke down.

Former Celtic player Andy Lynch, the man tasked with brokering those talks, claimed afterwards that Gillett had reneged on a deal. Club sources insist that no bid is expected from Kirdi or his backers on this occasion.

Falling short: Gillett is said to want £600m for the club, more than the potential buyers with whom RBS are negotiating have offered
Liverpool chiefs and RBS, who are obliged to listen to any proposals put forward by Gillett and co-owner Tom Hicks, fear Gillett is simply using the Syrian's interest to buy himself time to find an investor who will meet the valuation set by the American co-owners.

RBS gave the pair a six-month extension on the £100m repayment that was due last month in the hope of avoiding a fire sale of the club that have won five European Cups but are out of this season's Champions League.
 

Ride The Walrus

A pretty cool guy.
Jan 1, 2010
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600 million, as if. That's just unreasonable, I mean you come in, lie, lie, lie, put loads of debt in it, get death threatens, and then want to sell it for THAT much. Twats.
 

Zebedee

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Tony Evans at The Times has this to say:

The next week could determine Liverpool's future.

What can you expect when you read a phrase like this? Not so long ago, football fans would anticipate a dissertation on the star striker's groin (it's not so bad, Fernando Torres will be fine for the start of the season), or the manager's state of mind (strange, to judge from Roy Hodgson's press conference before the Rabotnicki match) or even whether the owners would stump up for a marquee new signing (introducing, for your edification, Fabio Aurelio, late of, er, Liverpool).

If only.

Instead, it is all about banks. Not two banks of four, no, but financial institutions. You'll remember them: the ones that nearly brought capitalism to its knees two years ago. Yes, the ones with the bonuses... That's them.

The one in particular that could determine Liverpool's future is Royal Bank of Scotland. It was in the thick of it in 2008 and needed a massive Government bailout to ensure it did not collapse. It had loaned money to people who lacked the ability to repay. Which brings us neatly back to Liverpool.

Tom Hicks and George Gillett, the owners, owe RBS £237 million. This is cash they borrowed to buy the club and keep it running. The Americans were too canny to put their own money up front in such a risky business as sport.

When Hicks and Gillett borrowed the initial money, Liverpool were en route to a second Champions League final in three seasons and were in rude enough financial health to purchase Fernando Torres for £20 million that summer.

Let's ignore Kop Holdings - the Americans' Cayman Islands holiday home for cash that pushed up Liverpool's debts to £472 million at the last published accounts - and concentrate on RBS. As Liverpool have descended into the financial mire, RBS have acted like a heroin supplier to Hicks and Gillett, keeping them hooked up and strung out, even when they are struggling to pay. RBS have topped up and extended the loans despite the lack of any evidence that they will be paid back.

Even Stephen Hester, the RBS chief executive, admitted last month that the bank had loaned Liverpool too much.

So no wonder it is thin fare this summer. Joe Cole has arrived on a Bosman free and Liverpool's marketplace contains the likes of Luke Young.

In the spring, RBS seemed to have made some ground. Anfield's owners employed Martin Broughton, the British Airways chairman to broker the sale of the club. Broughton's reputation was immense. This man could break strikes and still sell a football club in his spare time. Within days he had been undermined by Hicks stating publicly that the club was worth £800 million. Twice.

Just four months later, Broughton must worry for that reputation. It is telling that Kenneth Huang and his fantastically wealthy government backers went straight to RBS rather than Broughton and Barclays Capital (BarCap), the investment bank who were to manage the sale.

RBS has judged the public mood wrong from the beginning with regard to Liverpool. At one point, the bank's representatives were suggesting that they were worried about branches on Merseyside being attacked if they put the squeeze on Gillett and Hicks. Imagine the staff being overwhelmed by the frenzy of backslapping that would have accompanied such an event.

Now the onus is on RBS to make the right decision and ensure that the ownership issue is resolved quickly. Huang's bid seems the only viable one at the moment - both RBS and BarCap played down hopes of a quick sale last week - although Gillett claimed another offer was on the table once he realised the seriousness of the Chinese proposal.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that the Americans are giving lip service to a sale. For them, the next television contract, with the growth of broadband and the potential for streaming every game live across a number of entertainment platforms, looks like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

They are hoping that this lucrative future will arrive to rescue their parlous finances and will hang on as long as possible, whatever the threat to Liverpool's wellbeing and status. If those they owe money let them limp along, they will continue to bleed Anfield dry.

Can we bank on RBS to do the right thing? Who knows? The track record is not good. But one thing is certain: if they get things wrong on a matter that affects so many people, the bankers will be called to account..
 
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