Schroders signs for Liverpool FC

LIVERPOOL Football Club could float on the stock market or be sold to a media group after the Premier League club yesterday appointed Schroders, the leading investment bank, to advise it on its options in the fast-moving football industry, writes Peter Thal Larsen.

The club, which is 65 per cent owned by the Moores family, had previously dismissed any talk that it might join the rush of football clubs that have listed their shares on the Stock Market.

However, David Moores, Liverpool's chairman, said: "The appointment of Schroders will help us to plan how best to maximise the potential of the club and to ensure it remains firmly established within Europe's elite."

Despite an illustrious history, Liverpool in recent years have underperformed compared to rivals such as Manchester United and Arsenal. In financial terms, however, the club is still one of the most profitable in the country, reporting an operating profit before transfers of pounds 15m in 1997.

The move comes as football clubs await the outcome of both BSkyB's pounds 625m bid for Manchester United, and the Office of Fair Trading's court case against the Premier League.