Financial experts have warned Liverpool fans should not to become too excited by yesterday’s announcement that the club was in takeover talks.
Financial experts say that a statement issued by the club to the Stock Exchange saying it was in talks with a number of investors about a possible sale of chairman David Moores controlling stake contained nothing new and was likely to be purely procedural.
The statement was issued to comply with procedures that govern the sale of businesses that experience significant public interest in their shares. They mostly apply to companies quoted on the stock market and it is rare that private companies like Liverpool make such statements.
“Liverpool have been in talks with the likes of the Thais and the Kraft family for two years now. I don’t think this announcement means much has changed since six months ago. ” I wouldn’t expect any imminent deal,” said Neil Blankstone, a director of Liverpool stockbroking firm Blankstone Sington. The firm acts as a broker for anybody wishing to buy or sell Liverpool shares.
Corporate finance adviser James Dow, who runs his own corporate finance firm Dow Schofield Watts and who has previously advised Everton, Barcelona and Ajax, said the timing of yesterday’s announcement was likely to have more to do with Liverpool’s recent switch of financial advisers.
The club recruited the services of accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers to replace City investment group Hawkpoint last summer. Mr Dow said some advisers are more inclined to adhere to the letter of the City takeover code than others. However, Alan Switzer, a consultant in the sports business group of accountants Deloitte, thought the timing of the announcement was significant. He said: “Clubs don’t usually make statements like this as a reaction to speculation. If there was nothing to it they would quash it. This is not that type of statement. There could be something to it.”
Liverpool are anxiously searching for new money ahead of a deadline for the funding of their planned new stadium at Stanley Park. Liverpool has until mid-April to get the funding together to finance the stadium or face losing financial support from Merseyside’s Objective 1 programme.
In addition the club needs funds to buy new players and Mr Moores is thought to be looking for around £100m for his 51.5% stake in the club.