A Texas judge said he will reconsider his Oct. 13 order blocking the sale of the Liverpool soccer club to owners of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox.
Dallas state court Judge Jim Jordan today told lawyers for both sides that he’s willing to hear their arguments tomorrow at 7 a.m. Thomas Hicks and George Gillett, owners of the English Premier League team, are fighting with New England Sports Ventures for control over the club in U.S. and U.K. courtrooms.
Hicks and Gillett obtained the injunction yesterday in an effort to block a forced sale that would retire more than 237 million pounds ($379 million) owed to the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.
“This smacks of forum-shopping,” Jordan said during today’s hearing.
The soccer club, a five-time European champion, is off to its worst start in more than 50 years. The team is in 18th place and would be relegated to the second division if the season were to end today.
Hicks and Gillett claim that the 300 million-pound sale price is too low. The sale to New England Sports Ventures was approved by the independent members of the club’s board.
Hicks and Gillett have until tomorrow to repay the RBS loan. The New England group bid would pay off 200 million pounds upon completion.
U.K. Justice Christopher Floyd in London today granted an RBS request for an order blocking Hicks and Gillett from pursuing their case and gave them until 4 p.m. London time tomorrow to end it.
“We think the Texas court does not have jurisdiction,” George W. Bramblett, an attorney for New England Sports Ventures, told Jordan today. “It took us by surprise there’d be a Texas action.”
Stephen Fox, an attorney representing Hicks and Gillett, told Jordan that their side was negotiating with RBS about repaying the debt and that they wanted to settle the matter separately from the sale of the team.
The U.K. case is Royal Bank of Scotland Plc v. Hicks, HC10C03206, High Court of Justice, Chancery Division. The Texas case is KOP Investment LLC v. Broughton, DC-1013606, 160th Civil District Court (Dallas).
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