Former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton insists the Reds and rivals Man United will struggle to ‘get the prices they floated’ as they lack the pull of London to attract foreign investors – with both clubs looking for £4bn+
Former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton has questioned the valuations that the owners of the Reds and Manchester United have placed on their clubs.
Broughton believes that the two clubs will struggle to get the asking prices of over £4billion given that they are not in London.
The businessman insisted that the majority of foreign investors have property interests in London, and would therefore be more interested in buying clubs in the capital, rather than moving their ‘pads’ to the North West.
Sportsmail broke the story on Tuesday that a number of wealthy individuals from Qatar expect to make an offer for United, and it was then revealed on Wednesday that discussions had already begun.
Broughton was part of an ultimately failed bid to takeover Chelsea last year, and claimed that it was this experience that highlighted how potential billionaire investors would prefer a club located in the capital.
Sir Martin Broughton believes Manchester United and Liverpool will struggle to receive bids close to their asking prices as they lack London postcodes
United’s owners Joel (L) and Avram (R) Glazer are seeking north of £6bn to sell the club
Fenway Sports Group (FSG) are not thought to have set a timeframe on their efforts to sell Liverpool
‘I would question whether they’ll [United and Liverpool] get the kind of prices they floated,’ he told the Telegraph.
‘With Chelsea – and I think Arsenal and Tottenham would fall into the same category – the people we spoke to tended to be overseas billionaires who had a pad in London and the pad in London was in Knightsbridge or Kensington, Chelsea or something.
‘So when they came to London, they went to Chelsea. They were football fans, and they were Chelsea fans… they’re not going to be bidders for Liverpool or Manchester United because they’ve got a pad in London and they’re not planning to move their pad to Manchester or Liverpool.
‘So it’s a different type of buyer to the ones that we were looking for with our consortium.’
Broughton’s bid for the Blues was supported by Lord Coe but, alongside lifelong United fan Sir Jim Ratcliffe, was beaten by Todd Boehly and the Clearlake Capital Group consortium.
The 75-year-old was appointed as Liverpool chairman in 2010, and ultimately sold the club to New England Sports Ventures (NESV) – now FSG – in a High Court case against Hicks and Gillett for a fee of £300million.
United look the closer of the two clubs to finding new owners, with a group of Qatari investors already in talks with the club, who have set a mid-February deadline for any bid to be received.
Liverpool’s Fenway Sports Group (FSG) owners, however, have set no deadline and are not thought to have set any timeframe to sell, and Broughton suggested the Reds might be better off looking for multiple investors.
A group of private, high-wealth individuals based in the oil-rich state, buoyed by Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup, have set their sights on a club they view as ‘football’s crown jewels’
The Qataris face a significant rival in Sir Jim Ratcliffe – who is the richest man in Britain
‘Liverpool will be best off taking in co-investors to ensure the current owners can work alongside them and be satisfied that these are the right people,’ he added.
Broughton was the chairman that sold Liverpool to FSG in 2010
‘As I understand it, they [FSG] are interested to see what the market reaction is. They could be willing sellers. They could be willing to have investors, but if they carry on owning it, that’s fine too. That’s my understanding of their position.’
Ratcliffe – a life-long United fan – is the only potential buyer to go public with their intentions to buy the Red Devils, and is thought to be the main rival to any bid from the group of investors from the oil-rich state.
But Broughton suggested that prospective owners of the two clubs will come into very different situations.
For Liverpool, the ex-chairman believes any owner will find it hard to follow FSG, while a new United owner will ‘have the following wind’ behind them.
‘They’re (FSG) a difficult act to follow. To be a better owner than Fenway is quite difficult. At United, it’s more like the old Liverpool situation. Fans will be so pleased. Whoever buys it will have the following wind.’
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