- Associated Press - Friday, August 6, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - A group of Chinese investors said Friday that any offer it makes to buy Liverpool from Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. won’t enrich the embattled American co-owners.

Marc Ganis, whose Chicago-based company Sportscorp Ltd. has helped form the investment group, said it first contacted Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton on Monday, a day after reports of a possible bid first surfaced.

“We haven’t submitted a formal proposal but we submitted the broad parameters of what a proposal would look like to see if it would be welcomed, and it was,” he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press, hours after he returned to the United States from China.

A company called QSL Sports Limited would be controlling owner of the limited liability corporation that would own Liverpool FC. QSL is co-headed by Kenneth Huang, a Hong Kong businessman, and Guang Yang, executive vice president of Franklin Templeton Investments and chief investment officer of the China Life/Franklin Templeton Fund.

In an interview arranged through Hill & Knowlton Hong Kong, Ganis said those two would be the only owners involved in the management of the club. Other investors would be passive, and each would own no more than 20 percent.

China Investment Corp. _ the country’s sovereign wealth fund _ would not have a direct ownership stake in the club. However, Ganis said it may be part of an investment vehicle organized by Yang and his financial team that would have a passive ownership interest.

Ganis said the group had four primary goals if it makes a bid:

_Leave Liverpool debt free.

_Make a significant equity investment and construct the long-delayed new stadium to replace Anfield.

_Invest a large amount that would be available for player transfers.

_Have an Asian initiative to expand Liverpool’s fan base and commercial activities with the goal of creating new economic value for the club using QSL’s platform in China.

“What is not one of our goals in the enrichment of the existing owners,” Ganis said, “If we submit a proposal and it is accepted, it would be focused on the future and not the past.”

Barclays has told potential bidders they will have to show they have the financing to go through with the proposals. After QSL’s interest emerged, former Syrian club player Yahya Kirdi claimed Wednesday that he was fronting a consortium of investors from the Middle East and Canada that was close to completing a takeover.

Liverpool has won 18 English league titles _ but none since 1990 _ and its record has been matched by Manchester United. Beset by infighting between Hicks and Gillett plus player injuries, it failed to qualify for this season’s Champions League, losing tens of millions of dollars in revenue.

But captain Steven Gerrard and star forward Fernando Torres decided to remain with the club under new manager Roy Hodgson, who replaced Rafa Benitez after last season. Ganis said any deal would not close until well after the summer transfer window ends Aug. 31.

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