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Monday, March 15, 2010

Rhone Group looking to buy into Liverpool - are the sharks circling ?

This moring I read in the Guardian that a "private equity firm" known as the Rhone Group is looking to buy into Liverpool Football club.

Uh-oh !

No matter how bad the relationship might be between Liverpool fans at Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett, it's likely to be nothing when compared to the contempt for history that will be shown by these corporate raiders. There is no romantic view or sentiment, as private firms are purely motivated to make money for their owners.

How would the Rhone Group make it's financial return for it's owners?

Football is not a business, it does not deliver dividends to it's shareholders (usually), so having a "private equity firm" holding a corner-stone shareholding of 40% would be a worrying event.

Usually, private equity firms work on the buy low/sell high principle, buying into poorly valued enterprises, giving them a quick make-over and then flogging them off at a higher price to a bigger mug - or floating the company via the stock exchange to mum-and-pop muggins.

This is bourne out by the initial suggestion that £110m could buy 40% of Liverpool, making the Anfield club worth a total of around £275m - which is a pittance when compared to the supposed £1.5b that the "Red Knights" would need to buy into Manchester United.

The talk in the papers is that the deal would reduce debt - and initially it would - but it would also let a financial shark grab a major share of the club.

This is one deal that Liverpool fans definately do not want to see happen in my opinion.

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