Friday, October 15, 2010

Peter Lim withdraws bid for Liverpool

by Ian De Cotta 05:55 AM Oct 15, 2010 SINGAPORE

The battle for Liverpool has virtually ended for Singapore billionaire Peter Lim as he feels its board is intent on selling to New England Sports Ventures, at the exclusion of all other parties regardless of the merits of their bids.

In a statement last night, Mr Lim announced he was withdrawing his bid. "I have tried to engage constructively with the board and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) based on an offer, funded from my existing resources, providing greater value for Liverpool Football Club," said the 57-year-old tycoon.

"The board and RBS have chosen not to respond or to discuss my offer with me. My representatives even offered to meet the board last night. This was ignored, although NESV was invited to attend that meeting."

Mr Lim added that his interest in acquiring the club remains if circumstances change.

Said Mr Lim: "I would however extend my very best wishes to Liverpool Football Club, the staff and players, and the fans, who really deserve better than this. I hope the club now moves towards realising its potential and achieves success on the pitch."

The 18-time English champions are mired in debts and have made their worst start to the Premiership campaign in close to half a century.

Co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett lost a London High Court case against the Liverpool hierarchy and major creditors Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) on Wednesday that paved the way for the sale of the club to NESV.

But the American duo stalled the proceedings after successfully obtaining a temporary restraining order from a Dallas court on the same day.

Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton and RBS returned to the London High Court yesterday to fight the restraining order.

The Merseyside outfit face a nine-point deduction should the club fail to pay the £230 million Hicks and Gillett owe RBS by today and goes into administration.

Reds legend Phil Thompson warned it would take more than money to rejuvenate the club.

Speaking to MediaCorp in an exclusive interview - before Mr Lim's announcement to withdraw his bid - the former Liverpool defender said Mr Lim would probably be good for Liverpool, but is not sure the highest bidder is necessary the best to get the Liverpool board's nod.

"At this moment in time, anything is better than what we have from Gillett and Hicks," Mr Thompson told MediaCorp.

"I welcome serious people as long as they are serious about Liverpool football club ... but whoever the new owners are, they have to understand what Liverpool is all about, as well as our fans and culture.

MediaCorp understand that whoever wrests control of the five-time European champions must be committed to develop a new stadium and continually invest in "world-class players".

Mr Thompson added: "I don't want to hear false promises. I don't want to hear things like 'We will build a stadium very, very soon' ... the new owners must show they can bring stability to the club ... Everybody now has to pull in one direction, and that is when the performance on the pitch will improve."

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