Kenny Huang and his QSL Sports Ltd. withdrew from the bidding for the Liverpool Football Club in England’s Premier League.
Huang’s group was among as many as four bidders for the club, which has won the English soccer championship 18 times.
“We concluded that a plan that properly capitalizes the business and provides funds for a new stadium and player related costs would allow Liverpool FC to provide its great fans with the success they deserve,” Huang said yesterday in a statement. “Our strategy and unique ability to expand the fan base in Asia would also have been of benefit to all.”
While Huang said he and QSL “regret” they won’t have a chance to implement their strategy for Liverpool FC, he declined to elaborate on the reasoning behind his decision. Peter Kenyon, the former Chelsea and Manchester United chief executive officer, was negotiating for QSL Sports to determine the feasibility of a bid and to understand the financial structure of the owners’ investment in Liverpool, according to three people familiar with the situation.
Prospective investors must prove they’ll pay off the current owners’ 237 million-pound ($368 million) debt with Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, fund a new stadium and pay for squad development.
“We thank the many Liverpool fans who expressed support for our efforts and wish the club great success in the years to come,” Huang said. “I am now considering my future options and will be making no further comment at this time.”
Huang’s group, QSL Sports, was founded to invest in sports business opportunities in China.
Liverpool co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks have said they are selling the club, which they bought in February 2007 for 219 million pounds, including debt, or $431.7 million at the exchange rate then. The team’s parent company, Kop Football (Holdings) Ltd., now has debts of 351 million pounds ($547 million.)
The RBS debt matures Oct. 6. If the club isn’t sold by then and the owners can’t get an extension, the U.K. government- controlled bank could take over Liverpool.