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Liverpool board `resolved’ to complete sale
LONDON (AP) - The trans-Atlantic fight for the famed but struggling Liverpool soccer team spilled into Texas state court on Wednesday when its current American owners obtained a temporary restraining order preventing the club from being sold to the parent company of the Boston Red Sox.
The current owners called the Liverpool-Red Sox deal an “epic swindle.”
Earlier in the day, the High Court in London refused to stop the team’s independent directors from selling the team out from under owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. at a huge loss to the pair, who bought Liverpool three years ago.
Given that London court decision, the team’s board convened a meeting in London on Wednesday night to approve the deal, and Red Sox owner John Henry had just arrived when District Court in Dallas issued the temporary restraining order and scheduled an Oct. 25 hearing.
The board was informed of the injunction by the owners in a teleconference. But a few hours later, the board resolved to complete the sale, despite accepting that the temporary order was enough to “prevent the transaction being complete.”
Whether the Texas court order can be enforced on events in Britain, in a transaction with holding companies from Delaware, Britain and the Cayman Islands, was not immediately clear. The board said it will seek to remove the TRO issued by Texas District Judge Jim Jordan.
The move came hours after High Court Judge Christopher Floyd in London ruled against the owners’ attempts to try to block it.
Hicks owned the Texas Rangers before the team went bankrupt this year and was sold in August for $590 million to a group headed by Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan. Hicks also is trying to sell the NHL’s Dallas Stars.
Gillett owned the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens before selling them in December to the Molson family along with the team’s arena and a concert promotion company in a deal said to be worth $575 million.
“The independent directors consider the restraining order to be unwarranted and damaging, and will move as swiftly as possible to seek to have it removed,” the team said.
The Dallas suit was filed against Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton, managing director Christian Purslow, commercial director Ian Ayre, RBS and NESV. Action is also being taken against Liverpool finance director Philip Nash, who isn’t on the board.
By Emily Miller
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