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September 30, 2009

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Home » Sports » Soccer

Saudi prince works to buy Reds stake

A SAUDI prince has begun examining Liverpool's accounts as he negotiates to buy all or part of co-owner George Gillett Jr's stake in the Premier League club, despite having concerns about its existing debt.

Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdullah al-Saud is carrying out due diligence with a view to buying into Gillett's 50 percent-share through his sports investment firm F6, according to its director Barry Didato.

The prince has been given a period of exclusivity of several months in terms of negotiating with Gillett.

"The prince is looking to buy anywhere from 0 to 100 percent (of Liverpool), but he doesn't need to have a controlling interest," Didato, director of strategic investment at F6, said.

"On Saturday, Prince Faisal signed an exclusivity deal between the groups. We are at the stage of due diligence and taking George's lead. It is moving pretty quickly. At the moment he is only working with George Gillett and I'd certainly think it would have to happen by the end of the end of this year."

Prince Faisal is not in talks with Tom Hicks, who owns the other half of the club. Gillett would not be able to act independently of co-owner Hicks and sell any of his 50 percent stake without the permission of the Texan. Hicks, who was apparently unaware of Gillett's plans to sell his stake, would only be willing to allow 25 percent of the club to be sold.

Prince Faisal, along with Didato, was at Anfield on Saturday to see Liverpool thrash Hull 6-1 when the exclusivity deal with Gillett was signed. That agreement will also see the prince and Gillett, who is the majority owner of NASCAR team Richard Petty Motorsports, explore building football academies and rolling out NASCAR in the Middle East.


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