Huang Reveals $332bn Trump Card

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An eventful 24hrs has seen a mixture of misdirection, dubious PR, mind games and claims from various parties involved in the takeover of Liverpool Football Club.

Kenny Huang, the Chinese businessman linked with a takeover bid for Liverpool in recent days, started the morning as very much the front runner to gain control at Anfield. As many people sat this morning taking in breakfast or making their way to work, Syrian investor Yahya Kirdi made his move to claim pole position and steal some of the limelight with a series of claims and statements.

The Canada-based former Syria international player represents an investment group of Middle Eastern and Canadian individuals creating a consortium, who state they are are in “advanced negotiations” with Liverpool’s current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett. Kirdi is a long term friend of George Gillett’s son Foster and previously presented his interest to the club back in April of this year, alongside former Celtic player Andy Lynch but his efforts could not be finalised. Many quarters saw Kirdi’s bid as favourable to the American owners as his 100% direct purchase of the club could in theory force a bidding war, one that would allow Hicks & Gillett to potentially walk away with a higher profit margin as opposed to the believed more hostile takeover methods of Huang and his partners.

Kirdi’s group laid claim they are close to finalising a purchase price, repayment of debt and financing for Liverpool’s planned new stadium in Stanley Park via a statement from their public relations company.

“Yahya Kirdi, who represents a select group of investors from the Middle East and Canada, confirmed today that his group is in advanced negotiations with Thomas Hicks and George Gillett, co-owners of Liverpool Football Club, to purchase 100 per cent of the club.

“Agreement has been reached on all major terms including the purchase price, repayment of the existing bank debt from RBS and Wells Fargo and financing of a new stadium in Liverpool’s Stanley Park. A formal purchase agreement between the parties is in the final stage of negotiation.”

Mr Kirdi said: “Liverpool is a massive football club with passionate and proud fans in Merseyside and in every part of the world. With additional money to improve the squad and financing in place to build the new stadium, LFC will be on a solid foundation to compete in the Premiership and in Europe for years to come.”

In a fresh twist to the takeover saga, just hours later Huang issued a statement via his people, seemingly to try and dilute some of the press attention that he was receiving and take somewhat of a backwards step in to the shadows for a moment as the PR machines of the so called leading bidders jostled for the upper hand.

The statement reads: “In response to widespread media reports that Kenny Huang had made a formal bid for Liverpool Football Club, Mr. Huang would like to emphasise that he has registered interest in investing in Liverpool FC but has made no formal bid.

“There has been much speculation and commentary from a wide array of people, many of whom have little knowledge of the facts. Unless there is a statement that specifically comes from Mr. Huang or his authorised representatives, which presently is solely Hill & Knowlton Hong Kong office, we would suggest such comments should be given little credence.

Huang’s Hong Kong-based public relations advisers Hill and Knowlton announced:

“In response to widespread media reports that Kenny Huang had made a formal bid for Liverpool Football Club, Mr. Huang would like to emphasise that he has registered interest in investing in Liverpool FC but has made no formal bid.

“There has been much speculation and commentary from a wide array of people, many of whom have little knowledge of the facts. Unless there is a statement that specifically comes from Mr. Huang or his authorised representatives, which presently is solely Hill & Knowlton Hong Kong office, we would suggest such comments should be given little credence.

“At this point in time there is nothing further for Mr. Huang to announce. If there comes a time where this changes, we will make the appropriate announcements.”

Kirdi may have enjoyed a few hours of limelight this afternoon but tonight it is reported that Huang has placed a multi billion trump card on the table by confirming to the Liverpool board that his financial backing comes in the form of the China Investment Company (CIC). The CIC are presently China’s largest sovereign wealth fund with assets of circa $332bn (£208bn) but at present it is understood that no party has provided proof of funding to either Liverpool Football Club or in turn the Premier League.

Should this be the case, further confirmation is expected in the next 24hrs on this element, and in turn funding proof is provided, Liverpool may find themselves with an opportunityimpossible to turn down. With CIC being in partnership with Huang, or as is expected, his skill sets are being used to front the package and conclude a deal then Liverpool would find themselves moving from crisis point to not just the wealthiest football club in the world but also in the history of sport.

Aside from the financial aspect, which to some degree is unfathomable in many ways, Liverpool could find themselves via the connections of the bidder, as major force in Asia which is currently an untapped market in the world of football. Avenues may become available to Liverpool Football Club that to some degree could previously of only ever been dreamed off, as well as the opportunity to extend an already passionate, dedicated and global fan base to a whole new level.

Liverpool’s board is presently believed to be considering “five or six” proposals for the takeover of the club. It is logical that this list, if it hasn’t already, is going to be cut down very quickly indeed to a couple of front runners, maybe no different to that of Huang and Kirdi as already expected. The road ahead, projected at lasting ideally around no more than another 10 days due to the pressures of the transfer window, will probably be littered with many more twists, turns and element of misdirection as each consortium look for victory.

Kirdi has already made moves to dampen the CIC breaking news, which is only expected to escalate over the next 24hrs, with talk of more extensive development of a new Anfield than previously planned. As an attractive option as it could be in many ways to the local community and for a whole variety of reasons, it remains as this day closes that the reach of CIC has sent many an imagination into overdrive.

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  1. I don’t see why everyone’s taking Huang’s comments to mean he wants to shy away from interest in LFC. What he says is completely true – he hasn’t made a formal bid for LFC. Ratherr, what he HAS done is to approach RBS to buy H&G’s debt. That will subsequently put him and CIC in a very commanding position to take over the club at a future date whether Hicks and Gillett like it or not.

    That he hasn’t lodged a formal bid is just a technicality, because he’s not going about things like a direct buyer would.

  2. Wow, Huang could build a stadium on Mars with that kind of founds!
    I hope Khirdi too can prove his credentials in the next 24h, as he could just be an attempt to gain some time becouse he is Gillet’s friend and if Huang is succesful it would mean very little profit for the owners.
    They are maybe now waiting for Saudi prince or someone alse who wanted to buy the club before but they made them stop trying with their valuation and unreasanable demands.

  3. The Kirdi ‘bid’ is a H&G smokescreen. Broughton on his one day a week job, should kick in in to touch. Any link with H&G is a poisoned chalice!

  4. Do you seriously believe H&G have no say. They went to Liverpool with a sole plan to not spend a penny but make a profit so they got a loan via kop holding ltd and set about trying to sell the club for more than they paid. They knew about the loop hole that Huang tried to expose by going public a few days ago so they each sold assets last year worth £300+ million in the event that they wouldn’t be able to sell before someone tried to take advantage. If Huang pays the debt, they will just pay off Huang but no one wants that so no one will force H&G too much, not the club, not the bank, not Broughton no one. If they are forced to pay the debt to RBS they will make that money back by selling asset within Liverpool. Yes, that means Torres, Gerrard etc. The yanks are in a stonger position than made out to be and this was proven yesterday when Broughton went back on his word that H&G had no say!

  5. I can’t see RBS being in much of a hurry to force any deal while they’re making virtually £1 mil a week in interest from Kop Holdings.
    I think the G & H takeover was purely a front to get the building contract for the new stadium in the bag, hence inviting their ‘friends’ to the table.

    It all smells fishy to me.

  6. Marshy is correct, as soon as I learned that Kirdi has links with H&G I was completely under the impression of ‘scam!’. I cannot trust these Americans, they have dragged our club through all sorts and now they want leave there stamp on things…NO WAY! just get up and go please. Enough is enough!

  7. My only concern with Huangs move (in proposing to buy the debt from RBS) is that this form of leverage hostile takeover may deliver the club to CIC for the least value (because he could effectively press for a force majeur position when the debt is due to be repaid in October and we all know H&G can not repay it). H&G could go quietly and allow CIC to convert their debt to equity in a simple re-financing excercise. However, we all know H&G will not go quietly with their tails between their legs, which means that CIC will have to force the takeover of the clubs assets by demonstrating the club are trading whilst insolvent. Owning the debt and being prepared to ensure that all other creditors would be protected he could push the UK courts to grant a CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement), which is an insolvency motion where the exit strategy is already determined and agreed. All this sounds good – but it means that the club would need to bounce into administration and back out again. Under PL rules, we would then get up to a 10point deduction…. Thats my concern!

    I’ve seen this tactic used quite often for hostile takeovers of underperforming companies, but companies don’t get points deductions

  8. @ m kop: Yes, he could build a new stadium on Mars but let’s be honest, it would have even less atmosphere than Old Trafford LOL :o)

  9. This is going to come to a head in the next couple of weeks. I hope everyday that we get rid of the 2 misers & get proper owners in wholl back the manager & players then build a new stadium. Im sick off all the shit weve had to endure under the YANKS just bring it to an end ASAP. YNWA.

  10. cheche –

    If H&G sell the likes of Torres and Gerrard to raise funds, the value of the club will plummet. Even though they care nothing for the football, they’d never do it because it’s a bad business proposition.

    Also, of course H&G have some say, but their vote counts for only 2 out of 5. The rest are obliged to vote for the best deal for the club. Just comparing a 332b sovereign wealth fund with a rival bid in Kirdi, who also has a conflict of interest with the current owners, it’d be totally irresponsible for the other 3 members not to vote for the Chinese. Ultimately, H&G will have to submit to a sale that is beyond their power to stop. Taking ultimate power away from them was the main intention in structuring the board this way and getting Broughton on board. Although the threat of going into administration is very real. Any company that is run the way LFC is (or many of the other big clubs for that matter) falls way below the standards of regular corporations. It’s unfortunate that the team (who is just out there playing football) might have to pay for the recklessness and greed of the owners.

  11. huang will eventually get the club and there is no way cud the yanks b able 2 buy the debt of huang once the bank sells of the debt which they will do as it wud b bad buisness 4 em if they didnt

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