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Liverpool Settles With Former Owners Over Soccer Club’s Sale

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Liverpool reached an out-of-court settlement with former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett over the forced sale of the 18-time English soccer champion.

Liverpool was sold to Fenway Sports Group, then known as New England Sports Ventures, in 2010 for 300 million pounds ($483 million). Gillett and Hicks were unhappy with the handling of the sale to the group headed by Boston Red Sox owner John Henry, with Hicks describing it as an “epic swindle.”

Hicks and Gillett said the transaction wasn’t done transparently, with then-club directors Martin Broughton and Christian Purslow and current managing director Ian Ayre concealing negotiations with Henry from them. The former owners also claimed that the team was sold below its market value, and cited a Forbes magazine estimate that said it was worth 533 million pounds.

Broughton, Purslow and Ayre all denied the accusations, resulting in a lawsuit brought by Hicks and Gillett.

“The parties have now agreed a settlement (the terms of which are confidential),” the club said in a statement on its website. “All claims and allegations made against Messrs. Broughton, Purslow and Ayre have been withdrawn by Messrs. Hicks and Gillett and all legal proceedings between the parties concluded.”

Liverpool said neither side would have further comment on the matter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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