WE HAVE BEEN SOLD!!!
Updates are from The Guardian and various Twitter findings
LIVE UPDATES FROM DALLAS
THIS IS ANFIELD LIVE TEXT STREAM
THE MOTHER/FATHERFUCKING CHERRY ON TOP:
DALLAS — An attorney for Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. says the Americans are dropping a lawsuit seeking $1.6 billion in damages stemming from the contentious sale of the Liverpool soccer club.
Attorney Tom Melsheimer said Friday that Hicks and Gillett were dropping the claim to comply with an English court order. He says "a different picture will be painted" when the English court "has a chance to hear all the facts," suggesting the fight isn't over.
The statement came about two hours after the $476 million sale of the storied English club to the owners of the Boston Red Sox was finalized in London. That came after Hicks and Gillett dropped a temporary restraining order blocking the sale obtained in a Texas court.
3.52pm: "Deal done! #LFC sold to NESV," tweets Bloombergs @tariqpanja
I FUCKING LOVE ALL OF YOU
4.30pm: Liverpool/NESV full statement:
New England Sports Ventures (NESV) today announces that it has completed the purchase of Liverpool Football Club. NESV wishes to extend its sincere gratitude to the board of Liverpool FC for their diligence and their efforts on behalf of the club and its supporters.
The transaction values the club at £300m and eliminates all of the acquisition debt placed on LFC by its previous owners, reducing the Club's debt servicing obligations from £25m-£30m a year to £2m-£3m.
New England Sports Ventures is committed to winning and currently owns a portfolio of companies, including the Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Network, Fenway Sports Group and Roush Fenway Racing.
NESV principal owner John Henry said:
"On behalf of the entire NESV partnership, I want to express how incredibly proud and humbled we are to be confirmed as the new owners of Liverpool FC. We regard our role as that of stewards for the club with a primary focus on returning the club to greatness on and off the field for the long-term. We are committed first and foremost to winning. We have a history of winning, and today we want LFC supporters to know that this approach is what we intend to bring to this great club."
Liverpool FC chairman Martin Broughton, said:
"I am delighted that we have been able to successfully conclude the sale process which has been thorough and extensive. The board decided to accept NESV's offer on the basis that it best met the criteria we set out originally for a new owner. NESV is buying Liverpool in order to put it on an excellent financial footing and continue to develop it internationally. This is a good deal which comprehensively resolves the pressing issue of the club's debt and should give staff, players and fans great confidence regarding the future of Liverpool FC."
NESV chairman Thomas Werner said:
"We recognise that Liverpool Football Club is an historic institution ultimately grounded in the community and the fans. Our first step as new owners will be to listen. We want to hear from the manager and the players and those who are part of the daily operation of the club. We will be visible at Anfield and will embrace and listen to those who have stood by this club and who are the rock on which its future success will be built. We want to hear from the fans, local leaders and the local community. We want to hear from those who know LFC best, who have made it the best and share our desire to return to a culture of winning."
NESV is committed to creating a long-term, financially strong foundation for the club and dedicated to ensuring the club has the financial resources to be successful again and attract the best players. To that end, the transaction has been structured in such a way as to eliminate all of the acquisition debt on the club.
In the coming days and months, NESV will work closely with the LFC executive team to listen and learn about every facet of the organisation. During this time, the new owners will begin to look at areas for greatest opportunity to increase the appeal of the club nationally and internationally. NESV wants to once again create a culture and environment to allow people to excel at the club on every front. During this period, NESV will also begin to examine opportunities to enhance the matchday experience in the short-term, while also carefully studying the various long-term options that may be possible.
Mr Henry and Mr Werner added:
"We are eager to commence with our plan, spend time with the organisation, its leadership, its supporters, and the local communities. We will take these steps alongside the club's executives with a shared objective of stabilising the club and ultimately returning Liverpool FC to its rightful place in English and European football, successful and competing for trophies."
3.44pm: Announcement may be within next five minutes, says Caroline Davies ou
tside Slaughter and May offices where the Liverpool board and NESV reps are currently holed up.
3.38pm: If the deal is to be done today and the money handed over to the Royal Bank of Scotland, it needs to be done by 4.20pm, through a system known as CHAPS, says our banking correspondent Jill Treanor.
2.51pm: "The delay is probably due to fact they have Christian Poulsen carrying it over - he will be there about 6.30!" emails Paul Davies.
LOL WE LOVE YOU, THE GUARDIAN
2.38pm: Caroline Davies outside Slaughter and May's offices says: "Still waiting." Does anyone think that the NESV cheque to RBS will take four working days to clear? That could cause problems...
HOLY FUCK NOOOOO
2.17pm: "It would seem that the only remaining formality now is for NESV to secure indemnity from any damages resulting from H&G's planned suit. This can be an insured risk otherwise they would seek undertakings from the legal sellers," emails Larry Morris.
NOW GIVE ME A STATEMENT AGHHHHHH
RBS waiting for receipt of £200m to confirm sale to NESV. Nearly there. Though the legal aftershocks will continue for some
imhoffjosh: TRO ordered dissolved! Motion for contempt withdrawn, but worries by NESV that another motion for contempt will be brought by Hicks buy time
thisisanfield: RT @pkelso: Hicks statement: will pursue $1.6bn in damages following 'proposed illegal sale". suggest will hinder club for years. [via Twitter].
H&G I WILL HUNT OUT YOUR MOTHER, TAKE HER OUT TO A NICE SEAFOOD DINNER, THEN NEVER CALL HER AGAIN
1.19pm: Caroline Davies outside Slaughter & May's offices believes there may be an announcement of some sort soon. Meanwhile, I've been sent this picture by Harry Johnston, which he says is looking into S&M's offices.
Update: 7:22 a.m. from Dallas - Stephen Fox, repping Hicks and Gillett, confirms filing has been made. Says Stephen Stodghill: will have a comment about the reason why following the hearing. When asked if Hicks and Gillett have sold to Mill Financial, he said quote, "as of last night no sale has been made, but we don't know what goes on in London." Meanwhile the Baliff relays a message from the judge to Liverpool supporters: "no outbursts."
Update 7:12 a.m: We are being asked to turn off phones during hearing. Baliff ain't messing around, so live updates will be put on hold. Here they come...
1.07pm: Martin Broughton has arrived at Slaughter & May's London offices, reports Caroline Davies, our on-the-doorstep reporter. Broughton said: "Hopeful a deal can be done."
Chris Purslow added he was "confident we can do a deal".
Update from live Dallas blog: 6:48 a.m.: Attorney's representing New England Sports Ventures are at the courthouse, and do confirm Hicks and Gillett's attorneys filed at 1:00 this morning a motion to dismiss the temporary restraining order. They still want a hearing in front of the judge in order to confirm the filing, and for the judge to sign the order. Says George Bramlet, the attorney representing NESV, when asked why Hicks and Gillett tossed the TRO: "maybe they thought they weren't going to win, who knows."
12.52pm: "Mill Financial approached Premier League yesterday seeking approval under owners' and directors test," tweets Telegraph's Paul Kelso. "Prem declined to put Mill through O&D test without direction from #LFC board. "We will continue to take direction from board"
NVM CRISIS AVERTED... FOR NOW
12.46pm: "If Hicks and Gillett manage to raise the money to pay RBS off, the restrictions on the removal of directors agreed as part of the RBS loan will lapse. That would mean that Hicks and Gillett would be free to fire the other three board members," emails Nick Simpson.
anfieldonline LFC - Anfield Online
Premier League DECLINED to put Mill Financial through owners test without further direction from #LFC board.
1pm is when the Dallas court was due to hear the injunction arguments, but is now when we understand that Tom Hicks will withdraw his injunction application. This might be the immediate trigger for Hicks to try to sell his shares to Mill Financial. Owen Gibson's guidance here is that if Hicks has the money to pay off RBS, then the threat of going into administration is removed. And Mill Financial would then have ten days to take the Premier League's Fit and Proper person test.
4.30pm is understood to be the RBS deadline. As long as they get paid by somebody by then, then they will withdraw from this saga. It is believed (by some) that Hicks has until 4.30pm to find the money and until then it is his debt to repay.
12.14pm: Earlier this week we thought we knew where we stood: The board had an agreement to sell Liverpool FC to New England Sports Ventures. And a case at the High Court was going to rule whether that deal would be allowed. Since then the waters have got a lot murkier. What do we KNOW now?
• Martin Broughton's Liverpool FC board has still agreed to sell to NESV.
• The Royal Bank of Scotland's deadline for its debts to be repaid is today.
What is also probably the case:
• Tom Hicks says it has withdrawn its injunction (although this would still appear to need to be ratified in a court in Dallas)
• Hicks is trying to stitch together a last minute deal with Mill Financial, which already holds George Gillett's stake.
11.57am: The Springfield Financial Companies website says it has "a track record of completing complicated transactions quickly and creatively." Those would be appropriate skills for today, points out Martin Reed via email.
11.40am: Mill Financial: what we are pretty certain we know:
It is a US-based hedge fund.
It took over George Gillett's 50% stake after he defaulted on loans.
11.16am: Does this make the TRO question clearer? I think it does (a little): Associated Press reports:
A lawyer for Liverpool's owners says they will drop their court order in Texas blocking the sale of the club.
The move does not mean current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have given up their fight to stop the £300 million sale to the owners of the Boston Red Sox.
Lawyer Keith Oliver, who represents Hicks and Gillett, tells The Associated Press they are applying to withdraw the temporary restraining order when the Dallas court convenes at 7 a.m. local time (1200 GMT) Friday.
From John W Henry's (NESV's owner) Twitter:
We have a binding contract. Will fight Mill Hicks Gillett attempt to keep club today. Their last desperate attempt to entrench their regime.
1 minute ago via web
11.10am: "Hicks selling his shares to Mill; his shares in what? Surely the sale to NESV is a sale of the shares in the football club by Kop Holdings. Only KH can sell those, and this is governed by the UK injunction. Hicks shares must be in one of the superior holding companies, which would just put Mill in the same position as Hicks, ie with no control over the sale process. Have I missed something?" asks Andrew Park, a Liverpool fan who also happens to be a lawyer.
10.47am: As many of you are asking via email/twitter/below the line: how can Hicks sell to Mill Financial? "How can #LFC be sold to Mill without 3/5 board approval? Or passing the Premier League test?" asks Tim Jonze. "NESV and LFC have a waterproof contract. This delay can only make LFC go in admin," says @milivojm
10.02am: Sources tell me that the Temporary Restraining Order in Texas has been lifted. How this can possibly be, I don't know. But, that is what a well-informed source insists.