Syrian Kirdi says he is close to buying Liverpool

LONDON (AP) - A Canadian-based consortium led by a Syrian businessman said Wednesday that it is close to buying Liverpool from the club’s American owners.

The statement from Yahya Kirdi, who is representing a group of investors from the Middle East and Canada, came hours before Chinese investor Kenny Huang stated publicly for the first time that he is also contemplating a takeover of the Premier League club but is yet to make an offer.

Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. put the 18-time English champions up for sale in April amid pressure from banks over the club’s $374 million debt resulting from their 2007 leveraged takeover.

Martin Broughton, who was brought in as chairman to oversee the sale process, said he hopes a buyer can be found before the transfer window closes on Aug. 31.

Kirdi’s talks with Hicks and Gillett stretch back into last year, predating Broughton being hired in April when Barclays Capital bank was instructed to handle a sale.

The Syrian-born Kirdi, who now lives in Canada, decided to announce Wednesday that his group is now in “advanced negotiations” after details of the rival Chinese bid emerged.

“Agreement has been reached on all major terms including the purchase price, repayment of the existing bank debt from RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) and Wells Fargo and financing of a new stadium in Liverpool’s Stanley Park,” Kirdi’s group said in a statement. “A formal purchase agreement between the parties is in the final stage of negotiation.”

Kirdi, who also oversees investments in Europe and North America, pledged to invest in the squad, which dropped from Premier League runner-up to seventh place last season _ denying them a spot in this season’s Champions League.

“Liverpool is a massive football club with passionate and proud fans in Merseyside and in every part of the world,” Kirdi said. “With additional money to improve the squad and financing in place to build the new stadium, LFC will be on a solid foundation to compete in the Premiership and in Europe for years to come.”

Kirdi was born in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo in 1966 and played soccer for hometown clubs Al-Itihad and Al-Oruba in the 1980s as well as the national youth team.

Kirdi could face competition for Liverpool from Huang, the chairman of Hong Kong-based investment company QSL Sports who issued a statement Wednesday expressing his interest in the club.

Mr. Huang would like to emphasize that he has registered interest in investing in Liverpool FC but has made no formal bid,” his Hong Kong representatives said.

Huang is co-chairman of both the National Basketball League of China and the Chinese Baseball League.

While Liverpool’s Premier League season begins against Arsenal on Aug. 15, the five-time European champions host Rabotnicki on Thursday in the Europa League’s third qualifying round, leading 2-0 from the first leg.

“I can only hope if the club changes hands it goes to a group of people who have the club’s fortune and future at heart and that they will do the right thing by the club,” Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson said. “If a new owner comes in it is very important he makes clear to the supporters of this club, a worldwide institution, that they are buying it for the right reasons.”

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

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player
You Might Also Like
  • Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez, left, celebrates with goalkeeper Sergio Romero after scoring the decisive goal during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout to reach the World Cup final. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    Argentina beats Dutch in shootout to reach World Cup final

  • Washington Redskins safety Tanard Jackson speaks during a media availability after an NFL football training camp practice at Redskins Park, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Tanard Jackson suspended indefinitely by NFL — again

  • Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) looks to pass in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Monday, April 14, 2014, in Washington. The Wizards won 114-93. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Wizards’ Otto Porter, Glen Rice Jr. hoping for big splash on small stage

  • Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) is surrounded by fans that rushed the field and security as he is escorted off the field following their 45-38 win over Oklahoma in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

    SNYDER: RG3 worth his weight in bronze to Baylor

  • Baltimore Orioles' Manny Machado (13), celebrates his two-run homer with Adam Jones left, with Nick Markakis, at right, during the 11th inning of an interleague baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Monday, July 7, 2014, in Washington. The Orioles won 8-2, in 11 innings. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Accidental rivalry: Nats-Orioles doesn’t have much edge

  • Celebrities In The News
  • (Image from DeAngelo Williams' Facebook post)

    NFL star likely fooled by Marine impostor who accepted first-class plane ticket

  • ** FILE ** In this Oct. 1, 2013, file photo actor George Clooney attends the premiere of "Gravity" at the AMC Lincoln Square Theaters, in New York. George Clooney has chastised a British newspaper over an article claiming his fiancee's mother disapproves of the impending marriage for religious reasons. Clooney said that the claims about his future mother-in-law Baria Alamuddin were untrue and irresponsible. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

    Website apologizes for Clooney mother-in-law story

  • Kim Kardashian arrives at the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment 2014 Upfront at the Javits Center on Thursday, May 15, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Kim Kardashian visits Jersey shore