Dubai International Capital, the investment arm of the government of Dubai, has pulled out of negotiations to buy Liverpool Football Club, the firm said yesterday.
The Dubai firm had been widely expected to complete a £450 million (€679 million; $883 million) deal to buy Liverpool, while assuming £80 million of debt. The firm had already completed its due diligence and had an offer accepted in principle by club chairman David Moores.
However, the firm said today that the club’s board had been unable to recommend these terms to shareholders and was ending the negotiations as a result.
The board’s refusal to back the bid may have followed the emergence of a rival offer. George Gillett, a US billionaire who owns the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League, has reportedly offered an 11 percent premium to Dubai’s bid. However, Moores and chief executive Rick Parry had been thought to favor the Dubai offer.
The deal has been complicated by the board’s desire for the new owners to fund a new 60,000-seat stadium, in addition to making money available for player transfers.
In a statement, Sameer Al Ansari, Dubai’s executive chairman and chief executive, said: “We are very disappointed to be making this announcement. DIC is a serious investor with considerable resources at its disposal. At the same time, we are supporters – of the game and of the club. However, we will not overpay for assets.”
Al Ansari, a self-confessed Liverpool fan, expressed his own personal regret: “As businessmen, we move on. As fans, we hope that the new owners would share the same vision as we had for LFC and, of course, in realizing the new stadium that is so badly needed to ensure the club can continue to compete at the highest level in the Premiership and Europe. I am sure I will be back at Anfield with my family soon to support my team, as I have done so in the last thirty-plus years.”
Liverpool is the most successful club in English football history, having won more major domestic and European trophies than any other English side.