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#Rhone Group

# rhone-group - Tuesday 3 August, 2010

CHINESE BUSINESSMAN KENNY HUANG has lodged a formal takeover bid to buy Liverpool FC from its American owners, according to reports this morning.

Huang, who is the chief executive of a Hong Kong investment company QSL Sports Ltd, has submitted a bid valuing the club at £325m (€392m).

The Cantonese tycoon was linked with a bid for the club in the summer of 2008, but is understood to have baulked at the then-asking price of £650m (€784.4m).

But with the club seeing its debt balloon significantly under the tenure of current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett – with its largest creditor, the Royal Bank of Scotland, owed £237m (€286m) – Huang now believes the club to be value for money.

A secure long-term future is thought to be vital if the club is to hold on to stars like Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard, who could be sold before the August 31 transfer deadline if they are not satisfied with the boardroom setup.

Hicks and Gillett bought the club in February 2007 for a total of £218.9m (€264m), which included debt of just £44.8m (€54m). The two have had a strained relationship in recent years, however, and have sought to sell the club for much of their time as owners.

The Americans are believed to value the club at $800m (€608m) but are so desperate to sell that they may be prepared to shoulder a loss if it helps end their nightmare joint ownership.

The club’s chairman, Martin Broughton, has said that there are “several” offers on the table for the club, however.

One Syrian businessman, Yahya Kirdi, told newspapers he was interested in buying, but is known to be close to Gillett’s son and may have been asked to bid simply to raise the asking price.

Other investors linked with the club include Dubai International Capital, the Rhone Group and the wealthy Al-Kharafi family from Kuwait.