Hicks Loses Bid To Block Liverpool Sale To Henry

Oct 13 2010 | 11:43am ET

Managed futures hedge fund manager John Henry is poised to add an English soccer team to his sports empire after a British court rejected private equity veteran Tom Hicks' bid to block the sale.

The High Court ruled that Hicks and George Gillett, the current co-owners of Liverpool Football Club, could not block the sale. Hicks and Gillett admitted that the had breached their contract with lenders Royal Bank of Scotland by trying to fire a pair of board members in an effort to head off a sale to Henry's New England Sports Ventures, which owns baseball's Boston Red Sox.

"I am not prepared to grant any relief," the judge said, after noting that Hicks and Gillett had made the "clearest possible breach" of corporate governance rules and that Liverpool's situation was "highly unsatisfactory." If he did grant relief, the judge said, "it would risk stopping the sale."

"Well done Martin, Christian and Ian," Henry wrote on his Twitter account, referring to Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton and two other board members. "Well done RBS. Well done supporters!"

Hicks and Gillett will be invited to a board meeting today to discuss the team's sale. In addition to the US$477 million deal with NESV, Liverpool has at least one other, larger offer, on the table from Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim.

"We're delighted with the result," Broughton said. "Justice has been done. This will clear the way for the sale."


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