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By ESPN Staff

American pair convinced Reds to ditch DIC

The two American tycoons set to take over Liverpool convinced chairman David Moores of their plans at a secret meeting earlier this week.

George Gillett and Tom Hicks, who both own NHL ice hockey teams, flew to England to present Moores and chief executive Rick Parry with their provisional offer.

That meeting was enough for the Liverpool board to turn down a rival offer from Dubai International Capital.

It is understood the decision by Hicks, who also owns the Texas Rangers baseball team, to join forces with Gillett convinced Liverpool their future lay in American hands.

Hicks has built up a reputation for developing state-of-the-art new stadia for his teams.

The other issue which clinched the deal is the Americans guaranteed that Liverpool's new stadium on Stanley Park would not be on a groundshare basis, which had been Gillett's original plan when he was considering a solo takeover.

Hicks and Gillett will split the £470million cost of taking over the club on a 50-50 basis, with around £255million going to buy the shareholding and take over the £80million debt, and a further £215million on the stadium.

The Americans have carried out due diligence and are now preparing a formal offer which is expected to be presented to the Liverpool board early next week.

If, as now seems certain, this takeover goes through it will mean Liverpool, Manchester United and Aston Villa are all in American hands.

Malcolm Glazer, owner of American football's (NFL) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, owns United and Randy Lerner, owner of NFL's Cleveland Browns, bought Aston Villa last year.

Gillett, who owns the NHL's Montreal Canadiens, and Hicks, who owns the NHL's Dallas Stars, have worked together in the past on the board of a major US meat-processing firm.

Their idea gathered force when they met at the NHL All-Star Game last week. It would be the first time that two owners of rival sports clubs in one league have combined to purchase a club in another.