Chinese born investor and believed leading bidder in the takeover for Liverpool FC, Kenny Huang, has informed club chairman Martin Broughton that he is stepping out of talks regarding a takeover of the club. The decision from his consortium leaves the sale of Liverpool FC hanging in the balance with a RBS deadline approaching in October.
A statement on behalf of Huang announced: “After due consideration, Kenny Huang and QSL Sports is [sic] withdrawing from the ongoing sales process with respect to Liverpool. Mr. Huang has formally notified the chairman of the Liverpool board.”
“Over the past few months we learned first hand that Liverpool has a very special place in the hearts of millions of fans around the world,” Huang’s statement went on to say. “We concluded that a plan that properly capitalises the business and provides funds for a new stadium and player-related costs would allow Liverpool to provide its great fans with the success they deserve.”
“Our strategy and unique ability to expand the fan base in Asia would have been of benefit to all. We regret that we will not have the opportunity to implement this strategy. We thank the many Liverpool fans who expressed support for our efforts and wish the club great success in the years to come.”
“I am now considering my future options and will be making no further comment at this time,” he added to end his statement.
As all thoughts turn to what might have been for some Reds fans, all eyes turn to Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton to see if the club is indeed back at square on in its search for new ownership. Martin Broughton, the British Airways chairman, was recruited by present custodians Tom Hicks & George Gillett to find new ownership that would provide not only the outright purchase of the club and the removal of its debt but also financial muscle that could deliver the long awaited new stadium and reinvestment in the present playing squad.
Despite George Gillett’s efforts to promote the bid in some circles of his sons friend the Israeli Yahya Kirdi, now residing in Canada, it has long been believed that the only viable offer in front of the Liverpool board was that of Kenny Huang. Huang has grown restless in recent days over the time taken to progress the buy out, with it believed to be critically important to the businessman that the sales was concluded inside the present transfer window to enable him to bolster the playing squad with immediate effect. It is suggested that Huang was very sure via leaked information that he was the only one in the running to be able to purchase the club, despite allegedly only tabling a low offer for it. Thought is that in view of this information and knowing his strong position that Liverpool owners H&G were stalling for time to see if a offer could be generated through other interests that would see them gain a much higher profit return on the the sale of the club.
Just over 48hrs ago, Huang’s team insinuated that it was ready to walk from the negotiations and tonight it seems they have followed through with their threat. In many areas recent comments have been taken on board as a shot across the bows to pressure Broughton and the board into a quicker decision, a game of bluff and double bluff, a poker situation with the highest of stakes. Based on most financial opinions given in recent weeks since Huang’s interest was first known, it would also be easy to suggest that from their perspective, Huang was also the most viable to consider. With the alleged position that both RBS and Barcap favoured the Chinese based bid, Huang quickly found himself in a position carry a great deal of weight at the negotiating table.
“Our goals do not include enriching the current owners,” said Huang’s long-term business partner, Marc Ganis, recently. A strategy that was not only extremely good business sense but one that was always going to endear the Reds fanbase to his bid as the mixture of discontent and hatred for Hicks & Gillett runs deep for Kopites around the world. It was simple but very effective aquisition PR.
Appropriately timed comments such as this, coupled with an official approach to Liverpool’s Spirit of Shankly group about their interest in the groups thoughts, its position going forward and the option to discuss common objectives and better fan integration at Liverpool FC all sat very well. Depending on your opinion on tonights statement wording from Huang & his associates, not all hope has been lost in some areas that this is the last that will be heard from a man that could potentially promise a bright future for the club. The parting line has the element of a door being left slightly ajar, not slammed shut, potentially the thoughts of a group that will sit back and watch developments, maybe let some pressure build, hope for a knee jerk reaction and return to the table under certain conditions.
Other opinion, even in the financial sector is a little more varied in opinion, from those that say Huang is gone for good to those that say Huang is so sure of his control in the situation that a break in talks could bring RBS to force the situation in his favour internally, maybe even at a lower cost, before they find themselves having to own a football club that they have no interest in doing so.
Whether your thoughts lend you to think that this is just part of a careful game of chess, a strategy to take the upper hand at every opportunity or more diverse thoughts, such as an exceptional PR stunt with no real intent for conclusion or a quick exit before another winner is announced, the theories will continue to appear at every opportunity. Liverpool fans wait for their boards own view on events to appear in some shape or form, the other side of the coin yet to be shown. In this game of high stakes at a boardroom level, despite the emotional roller coaster it represents for many a fan, it remains very possible indeed that there could yet be another throw of the dice from Kenny Huang.