Liverpool pass on Rhone bid

Debt repayment deadline looms as bid of £110m is rejected by club's owners

A bid of £110m by New York-based fund management company Rhone Group to take a controlling share in Liverpool appeared effectively to have been rejected last night, with no sense that the club wished to pursue it ahead of a midnight deadline.

The Independent revealed last month that Rhone's offer had a three-week deadline attached and subject to an 11th-hour turnaround in discussions, it has lapsed. Though Rhone's investment is needed to pay down £100m of debt demanded of the club by Liverpool's bankers, Royal Bank of Scotland, the club seem to believe they can secure a better deal elsewhere.

It does not seem that Rhone will go back to the club in the future and though further negotiations are possible if Liverpool re-establish contact, the valuation may have changed if Rafael Benitez's side are not playing Champions League football next season. Qualification brings an additional £20m annual revenue.

Investment community analysts believe that Liverpool hoped the interest of Rhone, who have been unwilling to discuss their bid, might have flushed out a better offer. But while two other prospective investors are believed to be in the wings, no alternative bids are on the table at the Easter target date identified by Liverpool managing director, Christian Purslow, for finding a new equity partner.

The sticking point in negotiations with Rhone seems to relate to Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett's refusal to cede overall control of the club. The owners' preference is to sell a 40 per cent stake in the club, but to combine their respective 30 per cent shares to maintain overall control. Rhone are likely to have wanted concrete assurances written into any deal that this would not happen.

A 100 per cent takeover would solve that problem, though the £500m price initially demanded by Hicks and Gilllett from Dubai International Capital two years ago could be further reduced by non-qualification for the Champions League.

One source with insider knowledge of Liverpool's search for new investors has suggested several are delaying offers while they wait to see if non-qualification drives down the price. "Qualification is not necessarily the best outcome for would-be investors," the source said.

Purslow, who is leading the search for investors, said in February that it was a "requirement" of RBS that £100m be found from new equity partners to pay down a large slice of the debt heaped upon the club by Hicks and Gillett's leveraged buyout. It is unclear when the deadline for that £100m repayment expires though since RBS are not ready to foreclose on the club. The idea of a state-owned bank making such a move a month ahead of a General Election is highly unlikely, so Liverpool seem to have until July when the current debts are refinanced.

Captain Steven Gerrard has cast some doubt on Liverpool's ability to win their remaining five games in pursuit of fourth place. "That's what we said with six games to go," he said. "It's all right saying we'll be all right if we go and win our last five games – we have to go out on to the pitch and win them rather than talk about it. I think it'll go down to the wire."

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower