Liverpool refuse Morgan offer

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The Independent Online

Liverpool have rejected an offer of £50m in funding from Steve Morgan, a multi-millionaire property magnate, who hoped to invest the cash in the club in return for an increased shareholding.

Liverpool have rejected an offer of £50m in funding from Steve Morgan, a multi-millionaire property magnate, who hoped to invest the cash in the club in return for an increased shareholding.

Morgan, 51, already owns a five per cent stake, making him the third largest shareholder after Liverpool's chairman, David Moores (who owns 51 per cent) and Granada, which owns 9.9 per cent. Morgan, who has a fortune of £300m, had hoped the club would undertake a new share issue, which he proposed to underwrite. This would have allowed him a greater say at Anfield while providing money to put towards the cost a new stadium and players.

"[He has] made a formal conditional proposal to underwrite a rights issue, which would result in a very significant injection of new capital into the club," a statement on behalf ofMorgan said. "The purpose would be to strengthen the playing squad and to assist in the financing of the planned new stadium. The proposal has been turned down by the Liverpool board. Mr Morgan now awaits the outcome of the board's strategic and financing review with interest." Liverpool declined to comment on the statement.

Both Moores and the Liverpool manager, Gérard Houllier, have become the targets of fans' disquiet in recent months. Moores agreed to talks with Morgan after the club's AGM in January, where Moores took vociferous criticism from Morgan. Moores has come under increasing pressure to bring in outside investment to fund the new Stanley Park stadium, which could cost upwards of £80m.

Liverpool's rejection of Morgan's offer could be viewed as nothing more than an initial skirmish in a battle to control the club. It may have had more to do with differences in opinion over the value of the club and because Morgan favours a groundshare with Everton, rather than an outright dismissal of his money.

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