It has been a week of twists and turns with regards to news surrounding Liverpool’s potential search for new owners, with plenty of conflicting information abound.
Just a week ago, the Daily Mail reported that FSG were entering talks with separate private consortiums from Saudi Arabia and Qatar for a full sale of the club. That news came just days after Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, the Saudi Arabia Minister of Sports, said the Saudi state was eager to back bids for Liverpool or Manchester United.
Later in the week, however, the Boston Globe revealed that sources in the ownership group felt a partial sale while retaining majority ownership was the likeliest course. The report also highlighted the fact that FSG were seeking investors “philosophically aligned” with the current owners’ views on fiscal responsibility and team building.
Now the seesaw has teetered back in the other direction, according to David Lynch of The Sporting News. Lynch released an exclusive stating that the separate private consortiums from Saudi Arabia and Qatar have now joined forces in preparation of a £3.2 billion bid to purchase the club. The new partnership is said to avoid a bidding war between the two groups.
If the report is true, it would make for interesting bedfellows. There has not been a good diplomatic relationship between the two petrostates recently, though tensions has been easing with full trade resuming between the two countries last year.
Of course, it has to be questioned just how private these private consortiums are. The FA has stated they would not consider bids from public entities after the Saudi Public Investment Fund purchased Newcastle. These consortiums will certainly have links to the ruling families in the respective countries, it’s just a question of if the consortiums are essentially shell companies for the ruling families to get around the rules or not.
While the big news from Lynch is about the joint bid, he did also state that a group of German investors is further along in the bid process. There is also an American consortium who has said to have “registered interest”.
No matter what happens, expect some uncomfortable conversations as we find out more about the different prospective ownership groups.