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The Red Sox' owner is poised to buy Liverpool F.C.

Oct 6, 2010, 6:30 AM EDT

Liverpool FC of the English Premier League has agreed to be purchased by New England Sports Ventures, better known as the parent company of the Boston Red Sox. I’m going to refer to this as the Red Sox buying into the EPL, however, because it’s simpler and makes the story more interesting to me even if it’s arguably misleading. You want accurate news? Listen to NPR.

Anyway, you may recall that Liverpool is the club owned by former Rangers owner Tom Hicks. You may also recall that Hicks’ ventures into EPL ownership have been an utter disaster. It’s been claimed that Hicks’ adventures in English soccer had nothing to do with his problems with the Rangers, but even if you believe that, such adventures were evidence of some serious mission creep on Hicks’ part.  You’d think that, based on his experiences, any other American baseball mogul/soccer novice would stay the hell away from the EPL.

But based on the linked story anyway, it may not be a bad move for the Red Sox. Seems that if the deal goes through they’d be getting the club for the price of the outstanding debt. Which, while still a lot of money, is way, way less than other EPL teams have gone for, and what Hicks reportedly wants for the team.

Which is also what may sink the deal. Hicks, the majority shareholder, is reportedly unhappy with the cut rate price to which the board has agreed.  I know even less about English corporate governance than I do about soccer, but I’m not exactly sure how a board of directors can force a majority shareholder to give up his stake and, if he’s not doing so, how can one purchase a controlling interest in the team?

Oh well, that’s what lawyers are for. Or solicitors. Gosh, I hope this becomes a big story with baseball implications, because I’d love an excuse to start spelling things wrong (“Hicks won’t honour the agreement . . .”) and using phrases that my Anglophile friends use like “full stop” and “bloody.”

  1. Kiwicricket - Oct 6, 2010 at 7:16 AM

    My beloved Football team, and the ‘BooSux’ sipping from the same water-cooler. I just don’t know what to make of it. Perhaps united via ridiculous accents?

  2. avg joe - Oct 6, 2010 at 7:53 AM

    Great, my favorite EPL team and least-favorite baseball team, together at last.

  3. mattjg - Oct 6, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    I fully support two of my least favorite teams being under the same ownership. On the other hand, I’m afraid Henry will do for LFC what he did for the Red Sox and restore Liverpool to the top of the league. Until that happens though, ha-ha. Look who’s sitting in the bottom three.

  4. eaglealan64 - Oct 6, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    “I’m not exactly sure how a board of directors can force a majority shareholder to give up his stake and, if he’s not doing so, how can one purchase a controlling interest in the team?”
    There’s a chunk of debt due to be repaid next week – if he doesn’t repay it then the Bank takes control and sells it anyway, that’s the background. The Board has a fiduciary duty to do the best for the company and so they’re recommending this sale, Hicks opinion is no longer relevant in the circumstances.

  5. Ralph - Oct 6, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    Looks like Gillett and Hicks will walk alone, after all.

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