Keith Harris the Premier League’s top deal-maker, claims a mystery buyer is close to making a bid of up to £500million for Liverpool.
Harris, who has assisted in the sales of West Ham, Aston Villa and Manchester City, says he is representing a potential overseas buyer for the club who has already cleared the first hurdle of completing due diligence.
Moreover, he said it was different to any of the names that have already been bandied around, with current co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett making no secret of their need for outside investment.
The move comes just a week after Hong Kong businessman Kenny Huang pulled out of a bidding war.
However, Harris, who fronted an approach from Kuwaiti Nasser Al Khorafi two years ago before his client pulled out at the last minute, warned that this latest venture is also in danger of collapsing.
“The overseas buyer we represent has completed due diligence. A huge amount of work has been done,” he said. It is none of the groups mentioned in the press. The ball is now in our client’s court to make an offer. If the name of the prospective buyer comes out before the deal is done then probably it is never going to be done.
“In any takeover situation, when people resort to announcing it to the media, you have to question the seriousness of the offer.” Harris was in meetings yesterday afternoon and unable to comment on why, given the publicity-sensitive nature of negotiations, he had brought the possibility of a fresh bid to the attention of the wider world in the first place.
One suggestion is that it suits Liverpool that an authority such as Harris is hinting at a figure waiting in the wings just as the list of possible suitors has dried up. Huang was denied the chance to speak to the board exclusively about a deal and is understood to be holding on to negotiate in the absence of competition. Yahya Kirdi’s high-profile interest has been treated with scepticism from the outset.
But Harris pointed out that time is running out for Liverpool’s American owners. “I don’t think the deal will be done before the transfer window closes this month but the next pressure point is October, when some of the Royal Bank of Scotland loan of £237m has to be repaid,” he said. “It may happen then. But in the present climate these things are impossible to predict.”