Word out of the U.K. has Tom Hicks refusing Rhone Group's offer of a £100 million for a majority piece of Liverpool FC, the exact amount he and George Gillett owe the Royal Bank of Scotland come July. I've asked Hicks's local spokesperson, Lisa LeMaster, wot the wot, but till then this report in News of the World is raising quite the ruckus abroad. It says not only is Hicks unwilling to give Rhone a 40-percent ownership stake in Liverpool FC, but his "hardline stance" is running off other potential piecemeal investors or those interested in buying the club outright. From the Saturday story:
The Royal Bank of Scotland is putting the squeeze on the Americans, demanding Hicks 'put up or give up' in his efforts to run the club. They want Hicks to agree to Purslow's recommendations. They don't believe the Texan can raise his own funds to reduce Liverpool's debt by the £100m demanded.
The Sunday Times puts it even more plainly today: "Royal Bank of Scotland, to whom the bulk of Liverpool's £237m debt is owed, have told Hicks and partner George Gillett they will repossess the club and sell it should the Americans fail to repay £100m by July." Gillett, according to accounts, wants to sell, but Hicks doesn't. The perception, at least, is because "he won't personally benefit financially."
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All this comes a little more than a week after The Wall Street Journal reported: "Texas Rangers Owner in Increasingly Bitter Struggle With Lenders Over Sale." As in, the banks want their money back, and aren't at all happy about Hicks attempting to pocket close to $90 million from the sale to Chuck Greenberg's group. Greenberg confirms the sale won't go through by Opening Day, and he insists he's not worried by the delay, but in none of the pieces does he address the lenders' growing concerns. Bud Selig just wants this done with already.