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Aug 4, 2010

Liverpool linked with new takeover bid

The waters of Liverpool's proposed takeover have been muddied by the public pronouncements of a potential new suitor in a Syrian businessman heading up an Arab and Canadian consortium and Kenny Huang's denial that he has made a bid for the club.

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Following the denial from Chinese-American businessman Huang, the new group, led by Canada-residing former Syria international Yahya Kirdi, now claim to be in advanced discussions with the Premier League club, and to be finalising a purchase price, repayment of debt and even seeking financing for Liverpool's long planned new stadium in Stanley Park.

The unloved co-owning duo of George Gillett and Tom Hicks were reported to have received an offer from Huang, but he now appears to have taken a step back.

''Mr Huang would like to emphasise that he has registered interest in investing in Liverpool FC but has made no formal bid,'' said a statement. ''There has been much speculation and commentary from a wide array of people, many of whom have little knowledge of the facts.

''Unless there is a statement that specifically comes from Mr Huang or his authorised representatives, which presently is solely Hill & Knowlton Hong Kong office, we would suggest such comments should be given little credence.''

Gillett is reported to have introduced Kirdi to senior Anfield staff and the Royal Bank of Scotland. The club owes the institution a reported £237 million.

A statement from Kirdi said: "The group is in advanced negotiations with Thomas Hicks and George Gillett, co-owners of Liverpool Football Club, to purchase 100% of the club.

"Agreement has been reached on all major terms including the purchase price, repayment of the existing bank debt from RBS and Wells Fargo and financing of a new stadium in Liverpool's Stanley Park. A formal purchase agreement between the parties is in the final stage of negotiation.

"Liverpool is a massive football club with passionate and proud fans in Merseyside and in every part of the world. With additional money to improve the squad and financing in place to build the new stadium, LFC will be on a solid foundation to compete in the Premiership (sic) and in Europe for years to come."

Kirdi was linked with a possible takeover back in April, with nothing coming to fruition but is now back among a group of interested parties - six, according to chairman Martin Broughton - who are linked with the club.

Under new rules on club ownership announced by the Premier League on Tuesday, all prospective owners are obliged to give the league 10 days' notice of a takeover and prove they have the funds to sustain the club.

Liverpool and a number of parties contemplating a takeover have already contacted the Premier League to alert them that a change of ownership could be imminent

With Fernando Torres committing his future to the club to follow Steven Gerrard in pledging allegiance to Roy Hodgson's new Anfield broom, the dark skies of season 2009-10 look to be clearing for the Reds.

The majority of the club's fans will be heartened by the seemingly imminent departure of the North American owners. RBS appointed former airline exec Broughton as chairman to find new owners when they decided to place the club up for sale in April.

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