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Jun 23, 2009

Liverpool close to agreeing debt deal?

Liverpool co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks are thought to be close to agreeing a deal to renegotiate part of their £350m bank debts, thereby bringing some stability to the Anfield club.

A deadline of July 24 was looming over Gillett and Hicks to repay the Royal Bank of Scotland and US investment bank Wachovia the loans they took out to buy Liverpool in 2007.

However, the BBC reports that RBS have told Liverpool's co-owners that they will be allowed to refinance their debts with a new agreement and a new repayment structure.

Liverpool have made no comment, though once a similar arrangement is brokered with Wachovia it is expected that the club will make an announcement confirming the deals.

Reports of the refinancing deal follow Gillett's agreement at the weekend to sell his 80% stake in NHL ice hockey franchise the Montreal Canadiens in a deal worth around £330m.

That deal, combined with similar efforts by Hicks to sell assets of his own, including MLB baseball franchise and NHL outfit the Dallas Stars, appear to have convinced the banks the two owners have the necessary funding to meet future repayments on their Liverpool debts and to fund the club in the future.

The latest financial statement from Kop Holdings, the company through which Hicks and Gillett control Liverpool, show a loss for the year to August 2008 of £42.6m, over £30m of which was spent covering interest payments.

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