Liverpool 'ripe for buyout' by oil-rich investors

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The Independent Football

Liverpool are ripe to be the Premiership's next major buyout target -according to one financial analyst - as Dubai Holdings, a state investment vehicle overseen by crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, are reported to have renewed their interest in bidding for the club.

Takeover rumours are rife at West Ham but Stan Lock, a stock trader for the investment management company Brewin Dolphin Securities, believes Liverpool are a more attractive proposition.

Asked what made the Reds so appealing to investors, Lock said: "Firstly, it is one of the top clubs in Europe, they won the Champions' League less than two years ago. How many top clubs are there in the Premier League at the moment that you can get hold of?

"If you were going to take over a club you would look at the top four - Manchester United and Chelsea have gone, and with Arsenal I should think it's only a matter of time before they're gone. That leaves you with Liverpool - that's your lot.

"This is what's happening; Manchester United and Chelsea have both gone into private ownership and that is looking like being the trend. Trading in football club shares is a nightmare - it's always in small tranches, you can never buy a lot of shares and half of them are held by the board."

Last month, the Reds were able to guarantee that £180m worth of funding was in place to build a 60,000-capacity all-seater stadium near their current Anfield home, which in turn brought in development grants to regenerate the locality.

David Moores, the club chairman, who owns a 51 per cent stake in Liverpool, reportedly values the club at £300m and Lock added: "That's probably right. They will base that on future earnings and where the club is going to go. They are desperate for a new stadium and they do need new money to help build this, and this is where the present board can't go any further.

"It does need this extra investment and, if it's coming from the Middle East, it's going to be a bottomless pocket. They could buy Liverpool with spare change. I doubt they would go in for an investment - it would probably be for the lot."

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