Gillett and Hicks – doing it the Malcolm Glazer way?

George Gillett Jnr, and Tom Hicks, the multi-millionaire and billionaires at the centre of the Liverpool investment double act left Anfield today after all but sealing their shock smash and grab of Liverpool FC.

In a financial tale with analogies to Liverpool’s on-field antics at Istanbul, the duo’s plans for Liverpool looked dead in the water just days ago, and within the space of hours they now look primed to take on English football’s greatest club.

The duo are expected to split the cost of the club and its shareholding (£170 million), the debt (£80 million) and the stadium (£215 million). How much of this is raised from finance is at this moment not known, but it looks like an element of the deal will be similar to that of Malcolm Glazer’s purchase of Manchester United.

In that case United’s shareholding as a plc was purchased for £800 million. Of this Glazer used £272 million of his own cash, borrowed £272 million (using the club and its stadium as collateral) and another £270 million through the sale of securities on the club.

Tom Hicks is the owner of the Texas Rangers baseball side and the Dallas Stars NHL ice hockey side. This is owned under the name of his sports group ‘Southwest Sports’. The Ice Hockey stadium was completed in 2001, and American Airlines purchased the naming rights to the stadium for around £100 million – the ‘American Airlines’ stadium. Worryingly, the stadium entered the Guiness Book of Records on opening day thanks to the World’s biggest ribbon-cutting ceremony! However the first sporting event at the stadium was a game of footie – our kind. It holds around 20,000 people.

His Texas Rangers side was owned by US President George W. Bush from 1989 to 1998 before being sold to Hicks when Bush was Governor of Texas.

Tom Hicks handed out the biggest player contract in US baseball history in 2001 – signing Alex Rodriguez on a ten year contract worth around £140 million. Hicks faced outrage in the media who believed he was placing too much on the performances of one player. Hiring and firing managers has been a constant feature of his stewardship with little success.
Gillett owns the Montreal Canadiens NHL ice hockey side. This side is the oldest member of the US Hockey League and has the most Stanley Cup victories. In terms of American Sports as a whole the side are the third most succesful – winning their ‘championship’ on average 1 in every 4 years since it began.

It will be an unusual partnership and the first time opponents in one major sport will become partners in another.

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