Liverpool Owners Said to Not Mull Sale of Storied Soccer Team

Liverpool v Villarreal CF - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Second Leg

Liverpool players celebrate beating Villareal at its 45,000-seat Anfield stadium.

Photographer: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
  • Sky News reported Chinese group close to major investment
  • Owners may consider selling a sliver to the right partner

Liverpool Football Club, the 18-time English soccer champion, isn’t for sale, according to a person familiar with the matter, amid reports that the team was set for a Chinese investment.

The club’s owner, Fenway Sports Group LLC, isn’t in any active negotiations for a sale or a partial investment and hasn’t received a bid, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. Sky News reported earlier Saturday that China Everbright Group and PCP Capital Partners were working together to gain a “substantial shareholding” in the team.

Liverpool is one of the world’s most-followed clubs thanks to its record of success in the 1970s and and 1980s, but last won an English title in 1990. Since then it has been overshadowed by wealthier rivals, including Manchester City and Chelsea, teams now owned by billionaires from Russia and the Middle East.

Fenway Sports bought Liverpool for around 300 million pounds ($392 million) in October 2010 after its previous U.S.-based owners failed to pay debts linked to their leveraged buyout. The club is involved in negotiations to sell naming rights to a new grandstand at its iconic Anfield stadium, and Chairman Tom Werner told a local newspaper Friday that Boston-based Fenway Sports would consider a small stake sale to the right partner.

The Financial Times also reported that talks with the Chinese group were ongoing, and said Fenway Sports, which also owns the Boston Red Sox, had retained Allen & Co. for the transaction. The Sunday Times newspaper said the club was the subject of an offer valuing the team at 800 million pounds. Fenway Sports has a long-term relationship with Allen & Co. and the group wasn’t hired for a stake sale, the person said.

Fenway Sports declined to comment. Sky reported that PCP declined to comment and that Everbright couldn’t be reached.

The Reds lost 2-0 on Saturday at newly promoted Burnley in the second game of the Premier League season. Liverpool beat Arsenal 4-3 on the opening weekend.

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