Bad Day at Blackstone For Tom Hicks
In the past few hours, stories from the U.K. began surfacing : Tom Hicks isn't leaving Liverpool after all, but has instead asked a Blackstone Group subsidiary to help him refinance his debt. Which suggested to some that Hicks's has no intention of getting Yanks-out after -- hence this weekend's planned protest courtesy, who else, the Spirit of Shankly supporters union, which turned up a stack of financials in recent days and passed them 'round to the U.K. media.
Problem is, reported The Guardian mere moments ago, Blackstone Group -- which is to say, the subsidiary Hicks had intended to use for the refi -- has no intention of helping a brother out:
Hicks had approached GSO Capital Partners, the debt restructuring arm of the private equity group, to secure the funds required to repay the £237m outstanding to the Royal Bank of Scotland in the middle of next month and remain in control of the club.
It had been reported that a £280m, two-year package had been agreed in principle. But it is understood that, although talks took place between GSO and Hicks, they ended without a firm offer on the table. The Guardian has learned that GSO has now walked away and there is no chance of the Blackstone subsidiary lending Hicks the money. Liverpool fans' groups over the weekend made clear the depth of their hostility to the idea that Hicks could be bailed out by GSO, effectively buying him more time to find a new investor willing to pay a premium on the £218.9m the Americans paid for the club in 2007.
Update at 4 p.m.: A Friend of Unfair Park directs our attention to this Slate piece about U.S. owners and U.K. soccer teams and how that's workin' out (spoiler alert: not). Question: Should we now refer to Tom Hicks as "the anvil-headed Texas billionaire," as writer Brian Phillips does?
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.