Dubai International Capital will be unable to complete their £450m takeover of Liverpool before the close of the transfer window after the American sports tycoon George Gillett Jnr last night re-emerged as a rival contender for control of the Anfield club.
Gillett Jnr, the billionaire former owner of the Harlem Globetrotters and current owner of the Montreal Canadians ice hockey team, was among several bidders rejected by the Liverpool board before they reached agreement with the investment arm of the Dubai government on a deal that would see DIC purchase majority control for around £155m, assume £80m of debt and fund a new 60,000-seater stadium close to the club's existing Anfield home.
Both Liverpool and DIC representatives, who were present at Saturday's Premiership defeat of Chelsea, had hoped to conclude the deal this month to release transfer funds for the manager, Rafael Benitez, and to enable work on the new stadium to start immediately. But those plans were placed on hold last night when Gillett informed Liverpool he was ready to make an increased bid for the club.
Though Liverpool's chairman and majority shareholder, David Moores, has agreed terms with DIC, Gillett is entitled by company law to register a rival bid once the Dubai group have completed due diligence, the period that grants a business exclusive access to the club's books. The Premiership club are also bound by company law to allow the 68-year-old the same period of due diligence that they gave to DIC, which will delay any takeover for at least another month.
Gillett is believed to be willing to pay £5,000 per share for Liverpool, which would value the club at £170m and £15m higher than the Dubai offer, but part of the attraction in the DIC bid for Moores is the offer of a life president's role for him once they take over, and the continuation of Rick Parry as chief executive.
Gillett, by contrast, would prefer his own people in the boardroom and has favoured sharing a new stadium with Everton. Moores, whose 51.6 per cent stake in the club means he can veto any offer, opposes such conditions.Reuse content