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UAE royal attempted $2.56bn takeover of England’s Liverpool FC – report

Talks are reported to have fallen apart earlier this year

A member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family reportedly had a GBP2bn ($2.56bn) bid to buy English football club Liverpool rejected earlier this year.

UK publication the Daily Mail reports that Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, approached Liverpool’s owners over several months in late 2017 and early 2018.

He then made the offer, claimed to be the most expensive takeover in football history.

The royal is the founder and chairman of the Bin Zayed Group of companies, which has operations spanning construction and energy, trading and industry, real estate, technology and financial services, according to its website.

The managing director of the conglomerate, Midhat Kidwai, met with Liverpool chairman Tom Werner in New York to discuss the deal.

It would reportedly have seen Sheikh Khaled own the club alongside a minority Chinese partner, with the valuation made ahead of the Liverpool’s run to the Champions League final last season.

Liverpool was quoted as saying that discussions eventually failed and never went to the point of majority shareholders John W Henry and Michael Gordon meeting Abu Dhabi investors.

The club’s owner, Fenway Sports Group, is understood to be actively seeking investment and discussions initially took place with American firm Allen & Co, which was put in charge of the process.

The Daily Mail said it had emails proving prolonged talks between Allen & Co managing director Stephen Greenberg and Sheikh Khaled.

However, it reported that a request for proof of funds from Greenberg was not answered and a GBP25m ($32.1m) down payment due by the end of December under the buyout proposal never arrived.

Liverpool was quoted as saying talks ended in late January.

The English Premier League club has been repeatedly linked with interest from UAE buyers in recent years.

Last October, it was reported that Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners, based in Dubai, submitted a $1.96bn bid that was rejected.

The previous year, former football player Andy Lynch said the club was nearly bought by a “Dubai Sheikh” for GBP400m ($513.8m) in 2010.

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