(AFP) – Sep 27, 2009
RIYADH — A Saudi prince is negotiating to buy a stake in Liverpool Football Club, his office said on Sunday, in a deal the media said could be worth as much as 350 million pounds (559 million dollars).
Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdullah, a businessman based in Al-Khobar in eastern Saudi Arabia, is currently discussing the deal with the owners of Liverpool, Azhari Kowa, a spokesman for the prince's Fama Group, told AFP.
"Prince Faisal is in London now discussing the purchase," Kowa said, without elaborating.
Al-Riyadh newspaper reported earlier on Sunday that the prince was negotiating with the heavily-indebted English club's US owners for a 50-percent stake.
"It is going to be finalised soon. It will cost us 200 to 350 million pounds (319-559 million dollars)," he said, according to Al-Riyadh.
Prince Faisal told the paper that Liverpool was saddled with 245 million pounds (391 million dollars) in debt.
Liverpool's American co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks have been reported seeking new investment in Liverpool after refinancing some of its debts with the Royal Bank of Scotland during the summer.
On September 17, the Guardian newspaper said Hicks and Gillett were seeking possible minority investors in the Middle East.
The two bought the legendary British football club in a heavily leveraged deal in 2007 for an estimated 435 million pounds.
Kowa said Prince Faisal's sports-oriented company F6 signed a memorandum of understanding on Saturday with Gillett on setting up football academies in Saudi Arabia and North Africa, and explore ventures in auto racing and sports publishing in the Middle East.
Gillett is co-owner with US racing great Richard Petty in the NASCAR team Richard Petty Motorsports.
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