Liverpool FC have agreed to be taken over by George Gillett and Tom Hicks for €265m, with the American tycoons set to fund a new stadium.
Gillett and Hicks said they would pay £5,000 (€7,600) per Liverpool share and the total value of the deal, including debt, was £219m (€333m). Billionaire Hicks is the owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team and the Dallas Stars ice hockey team, while Gillett owns ice hockey's Montreal Canadiens. Liverpool, the 2005 UEFA Champions League winners, have been seeking an injection of cash for two years to help challenge for top honours and fund a new stadium.
Gillett and Hicks intend to build a new 60,000-seat stadium for which the club has already received planning permission. "I believe this is a great step forward for Liverpool, its shareholders and its fans," club chairman David Moores said. Chief executive Rick Parry added: "This is great for Liverpool, our supporters and the shareholders – it is the beginning of a new era for the club."
The deal follows a string of similar takeovers of English clubs by wealthy individuals, with Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich buying London club Chelsea FC in 2003 and US sports tycoon Malcolm Glazer buying Manchester United FC in 2005. All three clubs are through to the last-16 of the UEFA Champions League, where Liverpool meet the holders FC Barcelona.