Gillett set to sell Liverpool shares to Dubai group

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The Independent Online

The proposed sale of George Gillett's stake in Liverpool will not be derailed by co-owner Tom Hicks' fury over the alleged leaking of private letters over the deal.

It is still expected Hicks' representatives will meet Dubai International Capital executives in Dubai early next week to thrash out what will become a virtual joint-ownership of the Anfield club.

Texan millionaire Hicks has reacted angrily to the publication of a letter – on Liverpool-headed notepaper – which outlines the details of a potential buy-out of Gillett's stake, with one per cent being bought by Hicks to give him a 51 per cent majority share.

But Hicks has been angered by details of negotiations becoming public, and has blasted DIC's chief negotiator, Amanda Staveley, for an alleged involvement in the leak.

But last night a source close to the DIC negotiations said: "This letter has not been leaked by us or any of our negotiating team. We do not expect any problems with the meetings next week, and we expect the deal to buy George Gillett's stake to go through."

Hicks is upset that there are suggestions that this is the beginning of a process which will see DIC eventually buy out the Texan.

Sources accept that DIC do want to take full control eventually, but in the short-term they are happy to accept Hicks' demands that he remains the majority shareholder.

Hicks claims that DIC are only one several possible investors.

But Gillett wants to sell and will accept a deal next week which sees him getting an £80m profit on his stake, while selling one per cent to Hicks for £500,000.

The Hicks family staged a show of strength at Anfield on Saturday when a large party of Americans – including members of Hicks' family – took centre stage seats in the directors' box for the 3-0 win over Newcastle .

The head of the game's world governing body Fifa, Sepp Blatter, said the Liverpool situation should serve as a warning.

"As long as they have so many investors and specifically in the English Premier League, it is a fashion to buy a football club.

"At a certain time [wealthy businessmen] wanted to have a Formula One team or they had a personal golf course or they had horses – and now it is football. That's good for football, but the community of football should pay attention to such a situation."

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