It appears RBS, the Royal Bank of Scotland, which is the holder of much of the debt Liverpool FC currently find themselves in is prepared to wipe off a large majority of it and take control of the club. The bank is about to move the debt to it’s toxic assets division, which effectively means they are close to writing it off. It is as much as an ultimatum to the current owners as we can imagine a bank might make in such a situation. The bank is insisting the owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett sell the club within a month. This will obviously have a consequence on the asking price they can expect.
Prospective new owners from China or one of the Arab states will now have far more room for negotiation, knowing that unless the American owners agree to a sale soon they risk losing the club, and much of their investment, very quickly. Should RBS take over the club next month, if a sale is not agreed, the American owners, it is believed, would stand to lose close to £200 million between them, although the complication of the figures exacerbated by the fact they are not publicly available means any estimation is unlikely to be wholly accurate. Still, the news was welcomed by Liverpool supporter groups on Thursday evening.
Many of the groups have protested against the ownership of the American pair and pleaded for change. It appears that their hopes are about to be realised. A new owner at Anfield is expected within a month, be it a rich tycoon or the Royal Bank of Scotland. Complicating matters, the Royal Bank of Scotland is considered a state bank, the majority of its shares purchased by the British government in response to the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, which means any potential cost cutting moves the bank might make in the aftermath of a takeover would be, effectively, made by the taxpayer ie. some Liverpool supporters. RBS taking over would complicate matters and make for a potentially dangerous political circumstance for the current British government. In light of this even if RBS do take over Liverpool Football Club the expectation is that they would try to sell the club on as quickly as possible to the highest bidder.