Liverpool Football Club’s board has agreed in principal to sell the club to the owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, New England Sports Ventures.
In a statement on Liverpool FC’s website, chairman Martin Broughton said: “I am delighted that we have been able to successfully conclude the sale process which has been thorough and extensive.
“The Board decided to accept NESV’s proposal on the basis that it best met the criteria we set out originally for a suitable new owner. NESV’s philosophy is all about winning and they have fully demonstrated that at Red Sox.
“We’ve met them in Boston, London and Liverpool over several weeks and I am immensely impressed with what they have achieved and with their vision for Liverpool Football Club.
“By removing the burden of acquisition debt, this offer allows us to focus on investment in the team.
If the proposed deal is successful, it will bring an end to the controversial three-and-a-half year tenure of George Gillett and Tom Hicks who have been widely criticised by the club’s supporters.
However, the American owners tried to block the sale last night and regain full board control by trying to sack MD Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre from the board and replace them with Hicks’ son, Mack Hicks and Lori Kay McCutcheon who is a vice president at Hicks Holdings.
Broughton added: “I am only disappointed that the owners have tried everything to prevent the deal from happening and that we need to go through legal proceedings in order to complete the sale.”
In recent months, Liverpool fans have become increasingly frustrated with Hicks and Gillett who have failed to honour their promises of providing money for new players and funding a new stadium.
The Anfield club currently lie in 18th position after a disastrous start to the season under the management of Roy Hodgson.
New England Sports Ventures owns the Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Network, Fenway Sports Group and Rousch Fenway Racing.
It’s believed the company, headed up by finance tycoon John W. Henry, tabled a bid of around £300 million for Liverpool – half the price Hicks and Gillett were looking for when they put the club up for sale in April.
Around £280 million of this will be to pay off a loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland which had a deadline of October 15 that, had it not been paid, could have essentially put the footballing giants under the ownership of the state-owned bank.
Liverpool’s sale is conditional on Premier League approval, resolution of the dispute concerning Board membership and other matters.