Liverpool target Formula One owners as they look for ‘major media companies to take minority stake’

Joe Williams
Liverpool play at Anfield

Liverpool are targeting media companies to take a minority stake in the Premier League club after a full takeover was recently ruled out, according to reports.

The Reds principal owner John W Henry denied the club are up for sale last month and stressed Fenway Sports Group is only looking for additional investment.

In November FSG announced it was looking at all options as the club bid to remain competitive in an environment in which the likes of Manchester City and Newcastle have access to huge financial resources from Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia respectively and Chelsea’s new owners have just sanctioned more than £500million of spending in two transfer windows.

In a question and answer session with the Boston Sports Journal conducted over email, Henry ruled out the prospect of FSG relinquishing ownership of a club it bought for £300million in 2010 and is now estimated to be worth more than 10 times that amount.

“I know there has been a lot of conversation and quotes about LFC but I keep to the facts: we merely formalised an ongoing process,” said Henry about November’s decision to explore the market for investors.

“Will we be in England forever? No. Are we selling LFC? No. Are we talking with investors about LFC? Yes.

“Will something happen there? I believe so, but it won’t be a sale. Have we sold anything in the past 20-plus years?”

And now the Daily Telegraph claims that ‘are looking at major media companies as potential investors to take a minority stake in the club’ with a ‘contender to invest’ believed to be ‘US media giant Liberty Media, which owns Formula One’.

The Liverpool owners are ‘expected to use to fund the next stage in the club’s development in what is likely to be another crucial transfer window this summer’.

The report adds:

‘One such contender could be the US media giant Liberty Media, which owns Formula One as well as the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball.

‘It was Liberty’s acquisition of Formula One, and assorted subsidiaries from private equity group CVC, finalised in January 2017 at an equity value of €4.4 billion (£3.6 million), that announced it as a global player in major sporting brands.

‘It also owns the SiriusXM radio group in the US. Liberty Media declined to comment on interest in Liverpool or FSG.’

Liverpool are not having the best of seasons with Jurgen Klopp’s side currently seventh in the Premier League table, nine points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham but they do have two games in hand.

Midfield is one area which desperately needs improving and Klopp is hopeful there will be big money to spend in the summer transfer window.

“It’s not helpful (losing out on the Champions League). Money always has an impact. Of course it is influential but this is a summer where we have to be in the market, definitely,” Klopp said.

“I am sorry that we cannot guarantee the Champions League at this moment but it’s not done yet, we will fight for it, so we don’t have to talk about it as though it is not possible.

“But it is tricky and difficult and if (we qualify) it will be a late decision, I guess.

“We have to start doing work earlier than before we know where we will end up position-wise and European competition-wise, so these things are clear here.

“My job is to make it 100 per cent clear what we need from a sports point of view and then other people are responsible for giving us the resources or whatever. I have nothing to do with that.

“We built a stand and a training ground and the club is in a really good place but around us a few people are speeding up a little bit and you cannot ignore that.”

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