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Old 14th October 2010, 07:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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LFC Takeover Latest: Live!

LFC Takeover Latest
A dramatic day is unfolding again for Liverpool Football Club. The club are in court again at 2pm. Meanwhile in the US, Mill Financial have purchased Tom Hicks and George Gillett’s shares in the club. It’s all kicking off…

The commentary below will automatically update. No need to refresh your browser.

12:24

thisisanfield: Lots of news sources suggesting Chinese investor Kenny Huang is part of Mill Financial's purchase this morning. [via Twitter]
12:18

thisisanfield: To bring you up to speed, Mill Financial now own Hicks and Gillett's shares in LFC. Reds in court at 2pm in London. [via Twitter]
12:09
thisisanfield: To bring you up to speed, here's what's going on with our club today: http://www.thisisanfield.com/2010/10...shares-in-lfc/
12:09
thisisanfield: Welcome to the LFC Takeover circus... stay tuned here for the latest.

More on http://www.thisisanfield.com/2010/10...live/#comments

kenji_ray added 5 Minutes and 24 Seconds later...

12:31

thisisanfield: RT @pkelso: Hicks Dallas lawyer: "Anyone ignoring a restraining order in Texas does so at their peril" [via Twitter]

12:31
thisisanfield: Today's big stories:

Mill Financial buy Hicks & Gillett’s shares in LFC
http://www.thisisanfield.com/2010/10...shares-in-lfc/

LFC appoint Dallas lawyers to challenge Hicks
http://www.thisisanfield.com/2010/10...allenge-hicks/

NESV “will be patient” with Reds deal
http://www.thisisanfield.com/2010/10...ith-reds-deal/

Texas “grants” restraining order against LFC sale
http://www.thisisanfield.com/2010/10...inst-lfc-sale/

kenji_ray added 40 Minutes and 30 Seconds later...

1:07

thisisanfield: This sounds weird, but it's actually a good thing that Hicks still owns half the club. Now, after court this afternoon, the board could sell [via Twitter]

1:06
thisisanfield: Okay well that changes everything, we're back where we started. I suspect Mill Financial have bought the rest of George Gillett's share - meaning he's gone now.

1:04

thisisanfield: Tom Hicks has NOT sold his share to Mill Financial and remains in control of the club, reports the PA. [via Twitter]

thisisanfield: Tom Hicks has NOT sold his share to Mill Financial and remains in control of the club, reports the PA. [via Twitter]

12:58

thisisanfield: Premier League have not had approach from Mill Financial for the fit and proper tests that all new owners of clubs must go through. [via Twitter]
12:55
thisisanfield: There is an 6 hour time difference between here (UK) and Texas.
12:54
thisisanfield: Remember, LFC are in the High Court again at 2pm attempting to overturn Hicks' injunction in Texas. The judge has moved other cases round to fit ours in - so thanks for that.
12:53
[Comment From Eman]
I am just really curious as to how a texas court decision is legally binging on an english company issue, surely english high court decision trumps in this case
12:48
thisisanfield: Martin Broughton said this morning, "They are trying every trick in the book, but keep the faith. We will keep trying. I haven't heard anything [this morning] I haven't had time."
12:48
[Comment From Peter, Dubai]
if Mill owns the club and pays off the debt by the refinance deadline then RBS can do nothing, MILL owns the clud and LFC agreement with NESV is null and void !
12:43

thisisanfield: RT @fusr: @thisisanfield :calm legal sports expert on BBC says all is distraction the deadline favours the home team. The sale to NESV w ... [via Twitter]
12:42
[Comment From GraingeRed]
Surely if Mill purchase H&G's stakes they still only represent 2 out of 5 on the board and can't stop the NESV sale???
12:41

thisisanfield: Just had a fantasy - that someone buys us, then slowly sells us back... to the fans. We can all have dreams. [via Twitter]
12:39

thisisanfield: Fancy punching Hicks in the face? http://tinyurl.com/3xt9f98 [via Twitter]
12:38

thisisanfield: BBC says it's now a race between NESV and Mill Financial to pay RBS the money owed. The winner of the race will be our owners. [via Twitter]
12:36
[Comment From georgio11]
Do you beleive this is a last ditch effort or could we be in big trouble?How patient are NESV willing to be?This is all very confusong..
12:36

thisisanfield: US lawyer explains the court injunction: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/foot...ol/9090471.stm [via Twitter]
12:34
[Comment From Roque]
Maybe it's a clever turnaround, NESV is buying the shares from Mill afterwards...
12:34
thisisanfield: Send us your comments and we'll publish the best ones we spot.

kenji_ray added 50 Minutes and 31 Seconds later...

1:14

thisisanfield: Hicks spokesman says Hicks definitely has 50% of the club still. [via Twitter]
1:12

thisisanfield: The club need to just turn over this injunction, then they are free to sell to NESV

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Old 14th October 2010, 08:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: LFC Takeover Latest: Live!

5.21pm: Judge rules that anti-suit injunction wanted by RBS and other parties (board) against owners action in Texas is granted. "This case has nothing to do with Texas."

4.56pm: Mr Justice Floyd: describes summary of high court case in owner's petition to Dallas court as "impoverished".

4.48pm: Mr Justice Floyd: It is plain that the owner's case in Texas had been in preparation for some considerable time

4.30pm: Apparently we're looking at a ruling by Mr Justice Floyd by 5pm.
Sachin has confirmation that the owners have no legal team here. Their legal team were contacted and emailed back to say they would be out of the office all afternoon and would not be attending.

Now there's some bare-faced cheek...

4.15pm: Break in proceedings at the High Court. Mr Justice Floyd will reveal in a few minutes if he will make a decision today. Or tomorrow!

4.12pm: Back to outside court 18, where Lord Grabiner is speaking again: He says that the owners made no reference to damages claim during trial at High Court. Wrong then that they should make damages claim in Dallas

3.57pm: QC Chivers now speaking for NESV. It appears that G&H may have no-one in this courtroom....

3.40pm: Sachin from outside court 18: It is clarified by the board's legal team that they are looking for an order which lifts the owner's injunction. They also want an order which prevents owners from obtaining another injunction in any country except this one.

3.32pm: Trying to find details of when the courts in Dallas open and when there might be some hearings.

The Dallas Morning News this morning reports:

Dallas businessman Tom Hicks persuaded a state judge to halt the sale of Liverpool Football Club on Wednesday and may have gained something new in the battle: home field advantage...State District Judge Jim Jordan agreed with the lawsuit's argument that the defendants have done enough business in North Texas to fall under a Dallas court's control.

3.27pm: Lord Grabiner QC for the board: describes Dallas court as that "world famous jurisdiction" to much laughter.

(Personally, I'm not sure that they want to turn the jurisdiction debate into a fight with Dallas. Rather a simple question of primacy and priority).

3.21pm: Peter Lim says he will not proceed with his bid because the board is intent on selling to NESV "at the exclusion of all other parties...In these circumstances, I am not able to proceed with my intention to acquire the club." He added that "if current events cause the circumstances to change, my interest in acquiring the club remains."

3.14pm: A lawyer from Texas emails to say:

The Board need to go to the Texas court and file a Rule 12 Motion to Show Authority.

Since the British High Court granted the board the right to conduct the affairs of the corporation(s), H&G were therefore without authority to seek a Texas TRO on behalf of KOP Holdings, et al.

3.10pm: Lord Grabiner QC for the board: Describes H&G's actions as "grotesque parody, preposterous, unfair, unjust. They are incorrigible"

He points out that H&G signed up to this jurisdiction by getting into agreement with RBS and by agreeing to proceedings here. "It is preposterous" that they will simply go to another jurisdiction because they are not happy with the verdict.

He says G&H are probably "sitting ang giggling" at their behaviour right now.

3.05pm: Lord Grabiner QC now speaking for Liverpool: "simply incredible" that facts of this case were not revealed in Dallas court. "They want second bite of cherry and if it wasn't so serious, it would be a joke."

3.02pm: QC Snowden speaking for RBS: Argues that an injunction granted in a foreign country should not be allowed to take force when companies involved are all English. Describes H&G claim of "epic swindle" scurrilous.

2.59pm: "Court proceedings interrupted: it seems H&G are currently in court in Dallas arguing Lfc board were in contempt of US court y'day!" tweets Dan Roan

2.58pm: AbyKopite‎ tweets: "Why does Peter Lim release his press statements when Liverpool are in court? #LFC"

2.45pm: Back to Sachin outside court 18: QC Snowden speaking for RBS: Only one par in H&G injunction appeal refers high court case and even that is incorrect as it says Martin Broughton was restored to the board. In fact only Purslow and Ayre were. "This is a grossly inappropriate summary."

Witness statement from Martin Broughton reveals the board were close to agreeing deal with NESV at last night's meeting. Appears the Texas injunction stalled the process.

2.32pm: "Just received statement from Peter Lim - he is pulling out of bidding!" tweets BBC's Dan Roan.

2.28pm: While we wait for Sachin to next get a chance to step outside court and update, here is some legal opinion from Quentin Bargate, Senior Partner of the City of London law firm Bargate Murray:

W

hat struck me as most unusual was that the proceedings already taking place before the High Court in London merit only a passing reference in paragraph 53 of the petition...More surprisingly, I can find no reference in the Temporary Restraining Order made by the court in Dallas to the "British Court" decision at all. The court asserts it has jurisdiction without, it would seem, considering the possible impact of its order upon the already extant proceedings in London and whether the Dallas court should accordingly decline jurisdiction in favour of the High Court proceedings – where Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett may well have raised similar points already.

In short, it would appear that Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett's legal team decided against the option of seeking permission to appeal from the Court of Appeal, or decided that process would not yield a result in time and instead have attempted to take a second bite at the cherry in a different jurisdiction. Clearly, the Dallas court agrees that they were entitled to do so, at least for the time being.

So in essence, we have two diametrically opposing decisions of superior courts in England and the US based on essentially the same subject matter. It will be interesting to see what the High Court in London makes of all this...

Let's hope we find out soon...

2.20pm: QC Snowden speaking for RBS: Accuses H&G of preparing injunction request before yesterday's verdict here and anger that it was not disclosed during the trial by H&G legal team in the High Court.

BBC's Dan Roan tweets: "H&G's lawyers haven't turned up"

2.14pm: QC Snowden speaking for RBS: "Judge made verdict in Texas on basis of no evidence and solely on what was told to him."

It is claimed that H&G tried at the Dallas injunction appeal to make sure that it could be contested in the High Court in London. But the Texas judge did not agree to that, Sachin texts from outside court 18.

2.09pm: Back to court 18, QC Snowden speaking for RBS: "Proceedings in Texas are inappropriate. It involves an English football club and three English companies. It is intended to frustrate."

2.07pm: Liverpool fans who are planning to launch a counter claim Class Action against H&G have set up a Facebook page.http://www.facebook.com/pages/Liverp...0534076?v=wall
2.06pm: QC Snowden speaking for RBS: "Texas court appearts to have been told remarkably little about yesterday's verdict. This is the most outrageous abuse of process."

2.04pm: QC Snowden speaking for RBS: This hearing is the result of "extraordinary events yesterday".

2.01pm: Mr Justice Floyd is in the house. Lord Grabiner QC is there again, representing the board, although there is no sign of the board members themselves

1.56pm: Back in court 18. Less packed than yesterday, reports Sachin Nakrani.

1.48pm: In response to the 12.29pm quote from a Texas lawyer, Simon Just emails to say: "I'd be more frightened by an annoyed bunch of scousers any day than a restraining order issued in haste in Texas !!"

Along similar lines, The Wall Street Journal carried this piece a couple of weeks ago: "A Texas Tycoon Learns a Lesson: Don't Mess With Liverpudlians."

1.40pm: This story is still moving fast, and the protagonists are expected back in court at 2pm, but here is a recap of today so far:

• Just as the Liverpool board were hoping to sell the club to New England Sports Ventures last night, Hicks and Gillett obtained a temporary injunction in a Dallas court, claiming $1.6bn (£1bn) in damages and calling the sale an "epic swindle". The restraining order appears to prevent a sale taking place before the hearing on 25 October.

• The Liverpool board has vowed to overturn the injunction. Lawyers are understood to have been appointed in Texas in order to do this.

• The Liverpool board and the Royal Bank of Scotland will return to the High Court at 2pm. It is believed that the board hope that Mr Justice Floyd will rule that the injunction should not overrule his ruling yesterday, but a further hearing in Dallas may still be needed.

• There was much speculation that US hedge fund Mill Financial has bought out Tom Hicks's stake in the club (it already controls George Gillett's), but this has been denied.

• "What next for this saga's principal factions? LFC board, H&G, NESV, Lim, Mill Financial, RBS." Sachin Nakrani tries to unpick where each of the main factions go from here.

• NESV continues to be the board's preferred bidder, but one of its top executives, Tom Werner, who was due to fly to England today has decided to wait in the US.

• "Tom Hicks and George Gillett cannot accept Liverpool rules have changed," says Owen Gibson

1.17pm: A spokesman for Tom Hicks has confirmed to my colleague Andy Hunter that the stake has NOT been sold to Mill Financial.

1.01pm: "Are H&G not in contempt of court by going and getting the injunction in the US? Seems to me that Judge Floyd is going to give them a rocket this afternoon at the very least for not revealing that they were planning on taking action in the US." asks Mark Teuten via email.

12.58pm: Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks remains in control of his share of the club and has not sold out to Mill Financial, Press Association Sport reports.

Reports this morning suggested the hedge fund, a branch of Washington-based Springfield Financial, had acquired the Texan's 50% share having already taken ownership of his fellow co-owner George Gillett's half.
However, a UK-based spokesman for Tom Hicks told Press Association Sport Mill Financial had not acquired Hicks' shares.

12.50pm: The Fit and Proper Person test: Owen Gibson analyses the current situation:


In the wake of the meltdown at Portsmouth and the travails of Liverpool, the Premier League introduced new rules on ownership. Last June, a new fit and proper persons test required anyone with a shareholding of more than 30% to show they had no unspent criminal convictions for a string of "honesty" offences. Anyone with a stake of more than 10% must be declared publicly and ultimate ownership revealed.
This summer, it introduced three other new rules as below:

1. Means and abilities test
A prospective new owner must provide future financial information to show the projected financial position of the club should a takeover go through. A prospective new owner must also show proof of funds to prove they can sustain the club for the year ahead.

2. Meeting new owners
The Premier League Board will have the power to request a meeting with any person proposing to acquire control of a club.

3. HMRC reporting
The Premier League Board can request quarterly information from each club showing that they are up-to-date with payments to HMRC in respect of PAYE and National Insurance

As far as Liverpool goes, the Premier League are understood to be "two thirds" of the way to passing NESV. They have met the new owners, who have passed the directors test. They have yet to formally approve the so-called "means and abilities" test that involves providing proof of funds and forward looking financial information for the coming year but do not believe it will pose a problem.

They have received no approach from Mill Financial and will not begin any other checks until the mists have cleared.

12.35pm: Updates from the BBC's Robert Peston:

RBS feels its hands would be tied if £200m were to turn up in its accounts from Mill Financial...

...So the race is on to see who can get the £200m into RBS's coffers faster - NESV or Mill?

After months of fearing they'd never get their money back, RBS must be laughing all the way to the...

12.32pm: Many people have emailed to say how upsetting it is to see Hicks and Gillett at the top of this blog every time they refresh the page. Leigh Cocker emails this link to help people channel their frustration. (Disclaimer: This website in no way condones violence).

12.30pm: Responses to Red Sox fan from Mark Baker:

What relevance does Bob Boxwell's comment have? The issue here isn't about screwing over H&G or the board selling at way below market value. It is about RBS wanting the loan repaid as H&G defaulted on the loan as far back as April. H&G signed up for this and like when any other business venture goes south, will have to pay the financial consequences.

and Ryan Moss:

The Board are acting in the best interests of the club, that is to avoid administration which would be disastrous for the club and its current league standing. The club is not being undervalued with all things considered. However, I too do not think that the sale to NESV is the best course of action. Have LFC learned nothing? On the basis that Mr Lim's bid is legal then I'd be cheering his corner if I were in that board room.

and Clive Rowlandson:

Can we just kill the 'below market value' thing once and for all. 'Market Value' is what the market is prepared to pay and despite 130 parties contacting the club no-one has been prepared to pay more than the £300m - £320m from NESV or Lim. Otherwise RBS would have bitten their hands off

12.29pm: "Hicks Dallas lawyer: "Anyone ignoring a restraining order in Texas does so at their peril"," tweets the Telegraph's Paul Kelso.

12.25pm: Why are the Board back in the High Court at 2pm if they are now facing an injunction in Texas? The belief is that the Board could get a UK court ruling that the injunction should not stand. Although this might not bind the Dallas court, it could be used to persuade the Texas judge to lift the injunction.

12.21pm: Many of you are asking below the line and via email about the status of the Fit and Proper Person test with regards to Mill Financial's position. We are trying to get some answers on that. Imran Zaffar asks:

How did Hicks pass his own shares into the ownership of Mill Financial given the fact there is a restraining order against the sale? If Hicks has passed over ownership to Mill Financial, then he has no link to the club and therefore the Texas ruling cannot stand [unless Mill Financial are Texas residents, and they brought about the injunction].

12.16pm: Mill Financial are not mentioned in the court papers filed in Texas (points out Matt Young via email). Page 2 Paragraph 2 of the petition:

"Based on the arguments of the verified petition and the arguments of counsel, the Court further finds that Liverpool FC is owned - through the various plaintiffs - ultimately by Thomas O Hicks and George Gillett."

12.13pm: Here's a view that some Liverpool fans won't necessarily like, emailed by Bob Boxwell:

I'm a Red Sox fan so I hope Henry doesn't do this deal – the Sox need him fully focused – but that aside, it all seems like some nationalist fist pumping and gate storming you'd expect from a banana republic. The "Board" can't just sell at way below market value because they don't like Hicks et al (though granted, there's a lot not to like there). And they're selling to more Americans, no less. You couldn't make this stuff up. What do you suppose FIFA is thinking right now watching all this stuff? I bet Blatter's buying a copy of Fodor's Visit Moscow. UK football is out of control.

12.01pm: In what would be an interesting sting in the tail for Hicks and Gillett, supporters on the Liverpoolfc.tv website are proposing a Class Action against H&G.

11.54am: The Liverpool Echo also speculates that Kenny Huang could be involved.

11.44am: Mill Financial has now taken over Tom Hicks's shares, according to the Liverpool Echo.

It is being claimed the American based Hedge Fund has acquired all of Tom Hicks' shares to go along with those of George Gillett, which it already owned.

It is further claimed that if they repay all outstanding loans to RBS before the set deadline, they will by default become the new owners of LFC, nudging out New England Sports Ventures.

However the Echo understands the move would not signal Hicks and Gillett returning to ascendancy in the battle for the Reds.

Instead it is believed Mill Financial, in turn owned by Springfield Financial who have links with the Washington Redskins American Football team, may be acting on behalf of another, as yet unnamed and unknown group who have put themselves in a position to move in at the 11th hour and take over the club.

11.37am: Given that Forbes' valuation of Liverpool is an element of the US injunction claim, the Red And White Kop website has put some serious work into this analysis of how the figure was calculated: "Here's how the Forbes guys royally screwed up their $822M Valuation (£515M)". The most stunning revelation in this piece is that Forbes's calculation of Liverpool's value does not include the club's debt. (Thanks to @H_T84 for tweeting that).

11.29am: The Mirror reports that Liverpool have "appointed lawyers in Dallas this morning to file a counter claim in the Dallas court as soon as business begins there, moving to have the restraining order removed."

Presumably, LFC are exploring all legal avenues, given that they are due in the High Court in London at 2pm too.

11.24am: "#LFC and #RBS in High Court [at 2pm] to injunct against Hicks's restraining order. They claim a Texas court has no jurisdiction over UK company law," tweets Bloomberg's @tariqpanja

11.21am: Sachin Nakrani tries to unpick where each of the main factions go from here: "What next for this saga's principal factions? LFC board, H&G, NESV, Lim, Mill Financial, RBS."

11.06am: Liverpool and Royal Bank of Scotland are to return to the High Court at 2pm this afternoon. More on this when we know more....

11.01am: Why did the US judge grant H&G an injunction? Well, one simple answer is that he was asked to. He has only heard one side of the case so far, but will hear the RBS/Liverpool side. The big question is timescale.

One Liverpoolfc.tv forum reader, Roshi98, also has this:

Just thought I'd use the fabulous interwebs to dig up some info on the amazing Judge Jim Jordan, whose breathtaking arrogance in approving an injunction from a little known district court in Texas has thrown a small bit of uncertainty to an otherwise done deal with NESV.

In 2008 the good judge received beaucoup funding for his failed campaign to win a seat on the Texas Supreme Court (yes, in Texas SC justices are VOTED into office). One organization caught my eye - K&L Gates LLP. Why? Because they provided Mr. Jordan with $10K in campaign contributions. One of the head partners for K&L Gates LLP is one Vester Hughes. Mr. Hughes shares multiple board seatings at various organizations with one Tom Hicks.

Examples are:

Dallas Civic Leaders Council
Cooper Institute
Dallas Museum of Art

10.56am: Stephen S Henry (not sure whether the initial is a new Red Sox-inspired affectation) forwards an email which, I imagine, is similar to many that have been sent:

Dear Judge Jordan,

You must be aware of the Judgement issued at the High Court London only yesterday regarding this matter yet you have taken it upon yourself to issue an injunction under US Law that is inappropriate, inflammatory and confrontational.

I respectfully ask you to take this opportunity to explain what jurisdiction you believe you have in this case and what right you have to involve the US Courts in this matter.

Yours respectfully,

Stephen S Henry

10.50am: Fascinating short blogpost from the BBC's Robert Peston, which argues that Mill Financial might actually be in the box seat:

Royal Bank of Scotland tells me that if it's true that Mill has taken the Hicks/Gillett shares and if Mill repays the £200m long-term debt owed by Liverpool FC (plus penalty fees) to RBS and Wachovia, then Mill is in the driving seat. Once the debt is repaid, RBS's power ends.

As bizarre as this may seem, it also makes a lot of sense. Mill took over £75m worth of Gillett's stake/debt when he defaulted. So, in a sense, they already own a chunk of the club/debt.

We are endeavouring to find out more about Mill Financial. Thanks to all of you who have already sent over information about them. Please feel free to send more.

10.44am: Steve back. So, Tom Werner's not coming over yet. That would make sense. I have a huge backlog of emails that i'll work through and share with you. Plus any further developments as they happen.

10.40am: This from the BBC's excellent Dan Roan: "Tom Werner, Henry's NESV partner was about to board flight to London ahead of big unveiling tmrw - Hicks bombshell meant he stayed at home."

10.30am: Love them (unlikely) or hate them, were we really so surprised that Hicks and Gillett had an eleventh-hour, last-ditch manouevre, in place? Anyway, here's the latest from the Liverpool Echo:

A LFC legal challenge to the American co-owner's dramatic Texas restraining order obtained last night is expected to be heard in the next 24 hours. Lawyers for the Reds were locked in complex discussions until 3am today deciding how to deal with the latest challenge from by Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

Today Liverpool FC were said to be confident they would overcome a lawsuit seeking $1.6b damages from the English directors at Anfield - Martin Broughton, Christian Purslow, Ian Ayre and Philip Nash – along with lenders Royal Bank of Scotland and successful Liverpool bidders New England Sports Ventures (NESV) – claiming they were undervaluing the price of the club and disregarding other, allegedly higher, offers.

The Echo understands the defiant English board members remain confident they will push through a deal with NESV.

This morning solicitors for the Reds were hoping to have the matter listed in the High Court in London "as a matter of urgency" to obtain an injunction overturning the lawsuit.

And the Echo understands to completely veto the move they must ask for a similar hearing at a court in America. Once that happens Liverpool can be sold to NESV for £300m.

10.11am: Meet the Judge ...

10.10am: Ah, here we go: it's the Judge Jim Jordan website.

10am: According to the BBC sports editor, David Bond, NESV will not be put off its takeover of Liverpool by Hicks/Gillett's latest Texas hold'up tactic. "He is prepared to wait for the order to be lifted," says Bond. "Sources tell me he has binding agreements." Those sources sound a little like Henry himself, yesterday, who said (albeit before the last-ditch injunction): "NESV has a binding agreement in place with the board of Liverpool FC and we are looking forward to concluding the deal."

9.55am: James here. Just taking a selection of your views from below the line:

• "I don't know much about legal documents, but I looked at the PDF of the restraining order and the fact that Ian Ayre's name is spelled 'Ayer' and Gillett's name as 'Gillette' suggests that this was not drafted with the kind of attention to detail that will prevent it from being easily overturned by half a million quid's worth of lawyers" - milkymoon.

• "BBC Breakfast were refering to Liverpool as 'we' quite a bit this morning. Apparently they must be a national treasure of significance to all of us in this country. Many clubs have been through much worse than Liverpool, so spare me all the hand-wringing" - SirBevois.

• "The only way this saga could get more enthralling is if it were set in a Texas courthouse. Preferably with Rafa bursting in at the last minute with a grubby bit of A4 to present his 'facts'" - juncopartner.

9.21am: Sorry to leave you with everything up in the air, but I really do have to go to the dental hospital. My colleagues, James Dart, Owen Gibson and Sachin Nakrani will be covering. Every twist and turn will be covered here....

9.08am: Owen Gibson, who was up half the night following the extraordinary developments, has this to say today:

Liverpool and NESV will challenge the injunction and aim to have it thrown out. But the big question is whether they will be able to do that before the weekend. Even though they think it completely without foundation, they are taking it seriously because none of the named parties want to end up in contempt of a US court. But both the board and NESV remain committed to the deal for now.

RBS argued in court that they needed a quick decision to avoid possibility of administration - what will they do now that the sale will not be complete before 15th? My feeling is they will stick it out but it leaves them in a less clear cut, more tricky position.

As far as NESV go, Henry is in town and his partner Tom Werner arrives today - they had hoped to hold a press conference to announce their purchase. What will they do now? Will their frustration at the endless obstacles return?

And will Lim take encouragement from events overnight?

We also need to look at the other supposed rival bids named by Hicks in the petition - as David Conn has already pointed out, there is a certain flaky-ness to them. Some are suspected to have been "stalking horses" persuaded to come forward by Hicks to up the price.

As far as Hicks' end game goes, I can only summise he has nothing left to lose and is effectively daring RBS to push the button on admin, so perhaps reopening the sale process and achieving a higher price. And trying to embarrass RBS and the directors in the process - seems to me he really does believe he has suffered a huge injustice.

And now we are back in the territory where this story will be played out with an eight hour time difference...

(So those who wondered why Owen was looking so grim in that picture on the court steps yesterday, maybe it was just that he had an inkling that this wasn't over yet)

8.46am: Good morning from Steve. Well, there were some people on the pitch yesterday, they thought it was all over...but, far from it, it turns out. We'll be tag-teaming on this desk a little this morning (I have to go to the dental hospital), but we will keep you up with all developments. Because this is a can't-put-down-page-turning-cliff-hanger. You would not believe - or maybe you would - the number of emails I have received from people hitting the refresh button every twenty seconds until the early hours of the morning, or clearly unable to focus on work because of events. My favourite was this:

I had to meet a pension broker today and i had your MBM on the whole way through as i was like Homer Simpson all i was hearing from him was Bla Bla bla.

Just in case the pension broker is also reading this blog (but not during meetings), I'll spare the name of this Scouser.

8.30am: Steve will be here shortly. In the meantime: where were we?

• Yesterday morning, the high court ruled against Tom Hicks and George Gillett's attempt to block the sale of Liverpool to NESV.

• The judge told Hicks and Gillett it would be inappropriate to appeal against his decision.

• Martin Broughton, Christian Purslow and Ian Ayres attempted to press home the NESV deal.

• At the same time Singapore businessman Peter Lim maintained his interest in purchasing the club.

• A board meeting to ratify the sale of Liverpool to NESV was held at Slaughter and May's offices in London at 8pm. Just before the meeting, NESV's John W Henry turned up out of the blue, seemingly indicating the deal was a mere formality.

• Then we waited a bit.

• And then a Texas court granted Hicks and Gillett's appeal for an injunction to be placed on the sale of Liverpool FC to NESV.

• The pair also revealed they are claiming damages of $1.6bn against the three Liverpool board members, RBS and NESV, calling the sale an "epic swindle".

• Liverpool later released a statement calling the TRO "unwarranted" and "damaging", and intend to get it removed as quickly as possible. They still hope to conclude the deal with NESV.


Last edited by tcd; 15th October 2010 at 12:24 AM.
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