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Ste Leftley, March 14th 2010

New Yorkers @ The Rhone Group in Liverpool Takeover Bid

Newanfield packed to capacity

The News of the World newspaper in England are reporting that Liverpool could be set for a 100 Million takeover bid with cash injection and the current debt cleared and the newanfield stadium to be finally built.

Sky Sports News and the BBC are also covering the story.

the club has lined up a spectacular deal with the Rhone Group - reported to be worth 3billion - to dilute the controversial ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

The New York-based private equity firm have begun due diligence with a view to buying around a 40 per cent stake in the club. The 100m deal would see controlling interest pass to billionaire financiers Robert Agostinelli and Steven Langman.

If the deal goes through it would repay the club's Royal Bank of Scotland debt and enable work to begin on the 350m new stadium. There would also be considerable investment in the transfer market. That would then allow potential new owners to install their own man at the Liverpool helm.

Managing director Christian Purslow has been scouring the globe to meet a summer deadline to repay 100m of a 237m debt to RBS.

There is still interest from India, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait but the Rhone Group are seen as the most viable proposition in the market.

Founded by Agostinelli and Langman in 1996, the Rhone Group describes itself as 'one of the world's leading mid-market private equity firms'.

They specialise in mergers, acquisitions and leveraged buy-outs and have offices in New York, London and Paris.

The new Americans would take a controlling interest, leaving Hicks and Gillett with around a 30 per cent stake each.

The Rhone Group's co- founder Agostinelli, 56, is an Italian-American executive based in Paris who lists former US President George W Bush and current French President Nicolas Sarkozy amongst his friends. His high-flying wife, Mathilda, runs the French office of Prada and was a witness at Sarkozy's secret wedding to Carla Bruni.

Agnostinelli and Langman, 48, have worked together at several top Wall St firms before setting up the Rhone Group 14 years ago.

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