By Alex Stevens
A Chinese state backed investor is plotting to buy a stake in Liverpool in a deal valuing the Premier League giants at more than £700million, according to a report.
Sky News reported on its website that financial services conglomerate China Everbright is working with PCP Capital Partners, an investment and advisory firm, on plans to acquire a substantial shareholding in Liverpool alongside current owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG).
State-Backed Chinese Group Everbright Eyes Liverpool FC Stake https://t.co/UqLw6bAQmX
— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 20, 2016
It is said that their proposals were not yet finalised but that the consortium could also include investment from other Chinese state-owned parties.
Silk Road Finance Corp, an investment firm whose directors include John Thornton, a former Goldman Sachs and HSBC director, is also thought to be involved in the consortium’s discussions.
Sky News report that that any investment was likely to be structured as a joint venture or partnership rather than an outright takeover.
Liverpool’s American owners have repeatedly insisted that the club is not for sale although they have kept the door open for a joint venture or partnership which involved the sale of an equity stake.
If completed, a deal would represent one of the most significant investments to date by a Chinese company in one of world football’s hallowed names.
FSG, the vehicle which acquired control of Liverpool in 2010 in a deal which sparked a bitter legal battle with its former owners, owns a number of other prominent sports properties, including the Boston Red Sox baseball team.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo this week, Tom Werner, the club’s chairman, was quoted as saying: “We’ve said in the past, under the right conditions and absolutely with the right partner, we could look at some small investment stake in the club but only in the framework of doing what would be in the club’s long-term best interests.
“I’d say that from time to time somebody says they have made an offer to buy us but they are really saying that just for publicity. People throw offers to us which we don’t think are real.
“We haven’t had a discussion or a negotiation with anyone because this club is not for sale.”
Last month, The Sunday Times reported that Liu Yiqian, a wealthy Chinese businessman, made an unsolicited offer to buy Liverpool but was rebuffed on the basis that his offer undervalued the club.
Liverpool began the new Premier League season by beating Arsenal, but lost 2-0 away at Burnley on Saturday afternoon.
In other Liverpool news, Jurgen Klopp’s team lost to Burnley despite this astonishing statistic.