A report on Wednesday evening in the Independent claims Liverpool FC are the subject of a takeover bid from a state-backed Chinese group.
The exclusive report, by Simon Hughes, claims Liverpool’s owners FSG have been aware of the bid from the group called SinoFortone since March of this year.
It’s claimed that FSG are reluctant to sell the Reds at this time – most likely due to the new £5.2 billion TV deal that kicks in this season.
However, it’s also claimed that the group have even gone as far as exploring options for a new stadium in Liverpool’s dockland area, and redeveloping the club’s training ground.
Liverpool have been in talks with several companies – not clear if SinoFortone is one of them – over Main Stand naming rights. No deal for that has yet been announced, despite the stand being two months from completion.
Speaking last September, chief executive Ian Ayre said FSG weren’t actively looking for direct investment in to the club but would consider it as part of the Main Stand naming rights.
“If, for example, one of those partners brought a strategic opportunity in addition to a naming rights deal, then the Club would not rule out giving up some equity if this meant securing the right deal,” said Ayre.
Since then it’s been quiet on the naming rights / investment talk.
Hughes’ report claims SinoFortone are “thought to be open to the idea of part-investment in Liverpool, offering FSG a medium to long-term exit strategy.”
That would appear a more likely move at this stage.
SinoFortone are said have ploughed £5.2 billion into UK projects in the last year, specialising in large scale infrastructure projects, including £2 billion towards two eco-parks in Wales.
UPDATE: A report on ESPNFC, by Tony Evans, claims FSG ignored a takeover bid from Chinese consortium The Sinofortone Group back in February.
Evans claims the £700m bid “received no response from the Boston-based owners and no further contact has been made as Sinofortone officials were shocked at the lack of dialogue over their offer.”
Meanwhile, the Echo say that FSG insist they did not receive any bid for the club from a Chinese investment group.
This is despite a letter from Sinofortone of their offer for LFC. “Senior FSG officials say no such letter was received and are adamant that they haven’t had any discussions with SinoFortone about either part-investment or a potential takeover,” writes James Pearce.
The Echo report adds that FSG “have no intention of selling the club in the near future but have always been open to the idea of selling a minority share in Liverpool FC if the right offer was on the table.”