Chinese businessman 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 the person was 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 has made no announcement but has appointed a British media relations firm to represent him “in respect of his interest in Liverpool Football Club.”

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.

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

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 the club 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.

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