Chinese businessman Huang wants to buy Liverpool

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LONDON (AP) - Chinese businessman Kenny Huang has offered to buy Liverpool’s $374 million debt from a British bank in an attempt to end Tom Hicks‘ and George Gillett Jr.’s control of the English Premier League club.

A person familiar with the situation confirmed Monday that Huang is in talks with Royal Bank of Scotland. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

American co-owners Hicks and Gillett bought Liverpool three years ago but have put it up for sale after a public fallout over the running of the club.

Huang, who is co-chair of both the National Basketball League of China and Chinese Baseball League, has made no announcement but has appointed a British media relations firm to represent him “in respect of his interest in Liverpool Football Club.”

Huang was the first Chinese college graduate from mainland China to work at the New York Stock Exchange, in 1988. He negotiated the purchase of a 15 percent stake in the Cleveland Cavaliers in May 2009 and is director and co-founder of SportsCorp China, the New York Yankees’ exclusive marketing partner in China.

Huang was first linked to a takeover of the 18-time English champions two years ago.

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson said last month he wants the uncertainty over the club’s future resolved as soon as possible, giving him time to bring in new players before the transfer window closes on Aug. 31.

There is no set deadline for the talks with the bank.

Hicks and Gillett bought Liverpool in February 2007 for about for $431 million in a leveraged takeover.

The club lost $23.5 million before taxes last season, a steep drop from a healthy profit the previous year. But the Americans still value it at $948 million.

Hicks and Gillett promised to build a new 60,000-seat stadium to help the club compete financially with Manchester United and Arsenal, but construction was halted in August 2008 because of the global economic downturn.

Manchester United’s Old Trafford holds 76,000 fans and Arsenal moved from 38,000-seat Highbury into the 60,000-seat Emirates Stadium in July 2006.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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