Soccer Team Owner Seeks Hedge Funds' Help

May 6 2008 | 9:38am ET

A co-owner of England’s Liverpool Football Club is seeking help from hedge funds to end his acrimonious relationship with the soccer team’s other owner.

Tom Hicks, the Texan who in addition to owning half of Liverpool also owns baseball’s Texas Rangers and hockey’s Dallas Stars, has approached several hedge funds about financing his buyout of George Gillett, with whom he bought the team last year.

Hicks has held talks with some of the hedge funds that helped finance fellow American Malcolm Glazer’s purchase of Manchester United in 2005, the Daily Telegraph reports. Citadel Investment Group, Perry Capital and Och-Ziff Capital Management provided £275 million (US$542.4 million) to Glazer, who owns the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in his successful bid to buy England’s most successful soccer team.

At least one of those funds has balked at Hick’s request.

“It was turned down because the investment case for Liverpool is not the same as Manchester United,” a source told the Telegraph. But other funds remain in talks with Hicks, who wants to build Liverpool a new 70,000-seat stadium.

Hicks and Gillett, who also owns the National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens, bought Liverpool for £219 million (US$431.9 million), beating out private equity firm Dubai International Capital. DIC is understood to have recently offered to buy Gillett’s stake; under the terms of their purchase agreement, Hicks has the right to match DIC’s offer. He reportedly has until the end of this month to come up with the money.


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