Hicks blocks DIC attempts to buy Liverpool minority stake

The Dubai investment firm’s late stage talks to buy a stake in UK football club Liverpool have been ended by one of the co-owners of the club exercising a veto on any sale of the club’s shares.

Liverpool FC co-owner Tom Hicks has terminated the sale of a stake in the club by his partner George Gillett to Middle Eastern investment firm Dubai international Capital (DIC), according to a statement.

Hicks said he had terminated any further discussions with the Dubai investment firm about their possible purchase of Gillett’s minority stake in Liverpool. The Dubai firm has been in persistent pursuit of the club, which counts Sameer Al Ansari, the investment firm's chief executive, as one of its staunchest fans.

The statement came only a few hours after DIC had issued a statement saying it was in advanced discussions with the two owners.

Hicks exercised his veto right on any sale drawn up when the two US investors bought the football club for €470 million ($727 million) last year. He said he did not want to run Liverpool by committee, which was a stipulation in the DIC discussions.

Media reports said over the weekend that DIC had bought Gillett’s stake to take a minority 49 percent stake in the club for £170 million ($343 million; €222 million), while Gillett had sold his remaining 1 percent stake to Hicks, ensuring he retained majority control. This was later denied by DIC.

Gillett and Hicks were both thought to be looking to exit the club, although they secured a £300 million refinancing in January, strengthening their hold on the club. Hicks and Gillett also rejected an $800 million (€517.6 million) bid to buy the club from DIC last week.

DIC also attempted to buy the club last year, but Gillett and Hicks beat the firm in the bidding.

Hicks and Gillett could not be immediately reached for comment. DIC declined to comment.