Liverpool future remains unclear

London: Liverpool`s future still looked uncertain on Thursday after one potential investor denied an interest and the financial backing of another was called into question.

According to British media reports, as many as six potential parties are looking to buy the 18-times English champions who were put up for sale by American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett in April.

One of those is Chinese-born American businessman Kenny Huang, who said on Wednesday that he was interested in investing in the Premier League club but had not launched a formal bid.

A source close to Huang told Reuters on Monday that talks to buy Liverpool`s 237 million-pound (USD 374.7 million) debt with major creditor Royal Bank of Scotland were underway as a first step towards acquiring control of the club.

RBS denied any talks on a sale and said all approaches would be forwarded to Barclays Capital, which has been instructed to find a buyer for the club.

A newspaper said on Thursday that China`s sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corporation (CIC), would back a Huang bid.

However, the Financial Times has since reported CIC as saying it had never heard of a plan to buy Liverpool or of Huang. Huang would not comment on Thursday.

CIC was set up in 2007 with the aim of seeking higher returns for part of the country`s huge stockpile of foreign exchange reserves, which stood at $2.39 trillion at the end of 2009.

It had invested $110 billion up until May this year, taking its assets under management to about USD 300 billion.

Hicks and Gillett, who bought the club in 2007 for 218.9 million pounds, have appointed British Airways chief Martin Broughton as chairman to oversee the sale.

On Thursday, the Kuwait-based Kharafi Group, told Reuters it was not interested in buying Liverpool following British media reports that it was considering a bid.

Syrian businessman Yahya Kirdi said on Wednesday he was in the final stages of negotiations to buy Liverpool, who missed out on the lucrative Champions League this season after finishing seventh in the Premier League.

Huang was also linked to a Chinese consortium looking to buy a 15 percent stake in the NBA`s Cleveland Cavaliers last year but the North American basketball league has now confirmed that he was not involved.

The mood around Anfield before the CIC information emerged was that any buyer was welcome as long as they kept their promises.

"All we have heard for the last three or four years under the Americans are promises and more promises and none of them have happened. The Chinese couldn`t do worse," Tom McDonagh, a 47-year-old civil engineer from Wallasey, told reporters.

Imran Patel, a 29-year-old company director at Anfield to buy tickets for Thursday`s match, also added: "It is appalling what has happened here. The club has drifted for far too long."

Bureau Report


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