London: Chinese businessman Kenny Huang has launched a bid to acquire control of Premier League club Liverpool from its unpopular American owners, a source close to the deal said on Monday.
Huang, a Guangdong-born US citizen who already has interests in Chinese baseball and US basketball, has approached Liverpool’s major creditor the Royal Bank of Scotland as a first step to clinching a deal for the 18-times English champions.
He has offered to buy Liverpool’s 237 million pound (USD 374.7 million) debt with RBS as part of a purchase deal for the club, who were put up for sale by U.S. owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett in April, the source told Reuters.
Huang, chairman of the Hong Kong-based QSL Sports Group, has not commented on the deal but has appointed a British media relations firm to represent his interest in the five-times European champions.
Liverpool’s owners instructed Barclays Capital to find a buyer for the club in April and appointed British Airways chief Martin Broughton as chairman to oversee the sale.
The American duo have faced intense criticism and hostility from Liverpool fans, with frequent demands for their removal, after ladening the club with huge debts.
Huang issued a statement in March denying comments attributed to him in the British media about the future of then Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez but declining comment on his interest in purchasing the club.
He has also bought a minority share in Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team.
Media reports have linked Syrian businessman and former international footballer Yahya Kirdi with a deal for the club, who suffered a dismal campaign last season, finishing in seventh place and missing out on a lucrative Champions League spot.