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Tom Hicks is getting squeezed from every direction

Mar 18, 2010, 4:16 PM EDT

Liverpool FC.jpgAs you all are probably getting sick of me reminding you, Tom Hicks is busy trying to figure out a way to make the Hicks Sports Group’s creditors happy so that the Rangers sale to Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan can go through. So he probably didn’t need this: The Royal Bank of Scotland — to which Hicks and his fellow Liverpool FC owners owe 100 million pounds — has given him until April 6th to pay back the money. Most people thought he had until at least July. Nope. He needs the dough now.

In the meantime, some New York investors known as the Rhone Group — who are obviously no dummies — have offered Hicks exactly 100 million pounds for a controlling interest in Liverpool FC. Assuming he accepts the offer within the next 20 days, that is.  According to this article, Hicks rejected offers of as much as 500 million pounds for that stake just two years ago, however, and it’s an open question what the EPL would think about a guy torpedoing franchise values so severely in one fell swoop, so it’s possible that they wouldn’t allow the bargain basement sale to the Rhone Group to even happen.

The baseball point? As Maury Brown has astutely reminded me, the real hiccup in the Rangers deal is not the creditors accepting anything new from Greenberg. It’s the creditors making their peace with Hicks (i.e. the man whose business ran up the debt). Specifically, Hicks needs to kick in more cash from his take of the sale, or else the creditors won’t sign off. Only now it seems that Hicks has to kick cash all over the place lest he lose his soccer team in a foreclosure proceeding or, at best, take a royal bath on his investment.

Can Hicks print money?  If he’s going to sell his baseball team and keep his soccer team, he’d better figure out how to.  Here’s some irresponsible advice for Hicks:  take the 100 million in cash, kick the dough into the Rangers sale, and when the Royal Bank of Scotland comes knocking on the door for their money pretend you don’t speak British.

You can have that one for free, Tom.

  1. Ron - Mar 18, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    “pretend you don’t speak British.”
    That is so much funnier than you know, and unfortuantely, I can’t really explain it.
    But that ones a ‘laugh out loud’ and the other one I don’t know.
    Give yourself a ‘quote of the day’.

  2. YX - Mar 18, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    Or simpler, take the 100 mil in cash and move to Zimbabwe.
    That must be worth Z$10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000.
    “Applying Amount”

  3. Joey B - Mar 18, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    The ARod kiss of death.

  4. Adrian K - Mar 18, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    Oh yes
    Another member of the potless Billionaires club, Hicks and his partner are referred to as Stan and Ollie on Merseyside.
    Anyone can make money on a leveraged buyout in a rising market, but it takes a special type of genius not to take the money and run when you are out of your depth and the fins are closing in.
    To be fair, Hicks and co have only put Liverpool into $4-600 million
    worth of debt, given free reign to a egocentric manager that they can’t afford to sack and driven them to possible failure to qualify for the lucrative European Champions league.
    Malcolm Glazer and his pihranha family have put Manchester United into a $900-1200 million hole. At least their team is still viable but their fans are revolting.
    Charmless nurks, the lot of them.

  5. RobRob - Mar 18, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    The interesting angle to both of these stories (Liverpool and the Texas Rangers) is that in each case, the major sticking point is Hicks’s control of the club. He wanted to bring in investors to Texas to shore up the debt, but he’d keep control. Liverpool sounds the same. Drive the club into the ground, but don’t give up that control. It’s such a transparent ego trip it’s almost funny.

  6. APBA Guy - Mar 18, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    As an Arsenal fan, I can only react with glee to the continuing travails of the greed-racked club of clubs, as Adrian K points out above.
    But it is also true that if Hicks ego would permit it, sale of his 50% of Liverpool would be enough to salvage his situation in Texas. The fans there are rabid beyond belief, making even NFL fans look tame and rational by comparison. Man U has a fan base equally rabid and they have begun a movement to buy back the club from the Glazers, raising so far $ 225M. That’s a fan-based movement. Of course, some of their fans are very well-heeled.
    But this may also be part of the reason that Wash is still on the job. Texas may not be able to afford the severance plus the new manager salary.
    Take a serious look at the Texas rotation and tell me again that they are contenders.
    They haven’t spent any money in a year, and I don’t think that’ll change until Hicks is out of the picture.

  7. Maury Brown - Mar 18, 2010 at 9:50 PM

    First off, a gracious thanks on mentioning me, Craig. I assume I’m still on the hook for the six-pack, depending?
    RobRob… When the Rangers sale is completed, Hicks will own a microscopic sliver of the club. To say it is small is an understatement: well under 5%.
    Craig, I don’t know if you saw, but Hicks is getting squeezed (more) on the home front, and this deal has the capacity to land in Greenberg’s lap post-sale:
    Gloryland Lawsuit Adds More Baggage to Texas Rangers Sale

  8. InnocentBystander - Mar 18, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    The irony (almost said “shocking” but then remembered Perry Farrell says Nothing’s Shocking) is that Hicks’ background is in private equity (most famous for acquiring Dr. Pepper then 7-Up, taking the merged company public, and making a huge profit). This is a man that who knows how to make money from business…but here he is failing miserably. Though Joey B’s comment about Arod appears to be a joke, he’s probably more right than he knows. Many sports owners abandon good business practices in order to win (“many” means not the Marlins). As a fan sports I’d argue that it’s actually good for the game.

  9. Loztralia - Mar 19, 2010 at 1:58 AM

    “it’s an open question what the EPL would think about a guy torpedoing franchise values so severely in one fell swoop, so it’s possible that they wouldn’t allow the bargain basement sale to the Rhone Group to even happen”
    I guarantee you that the Premier League will do nothing. Guarantee it. They couldn’t care less who owns clubs or where the money comes from (or doesn’t come from, as is increasingly the case).

  10. madhatters - Mar 19, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    You are so right about this, evidenced by the Glaser Family running Man U. into financial ruin. The saddest thing is the EPL allowing these essentially carpetbaggers to really damage Europe’s greatest product. Aren’t there rich people in Europe who can own these teams and will take pride in running a successful soccer club? Or is the econonic situation in Europe so bad that they’ll allow people with no vested interest or understanding of the sport run the show?

  11. thizzle - Mar 19, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    @ madhatters: You obviously don’t have a clue of what’s going on in Europe. Right now, most soccer clubs are in financial trouble because of the financial crisis. Soccer is going downhill, as well as all other major sports. And European rich people dont invest in soccer clubs, because they know their money is better spent elsewhere..something some rich americans haven’t figured out yet.

  12. Gerald F. Jones - Mar 19, 2010 at 8:27 PM

    I think Rhone coming in is a blessing and us fans should be greatful and welcome them! The Rhone team are clearly people who know what they doing and they will get us out of this mess! LFC for life!

  13. Old Gator - Mar 21, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    Hicks is not being squeezed from every direction. Frank McCourt is being squeezed from the one direction Hicks is not being squeezed from. Combine Hicks and McCourt and you have the complete squeezed man.

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