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Fri 23 Jan 2009 09:10 AM

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Kuwait family 'in talks' over Liverpool FC buyout

Reports suggest club co-owner in discussions with Al Kharafi family over $827mn deal.

Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks has reportedly started discussions with a wealthy Middle East family over a possible 600 million pound ($827 million) sale of the English Premiership club.

The preliminary talks are with the Kuwaiti Al Kharafi family, led by Nasser Al Kharafi who is worth nine billion pounds and is the 48th richest man in the world, the Daily Telegraph claimed on its website.

A purchase of Newcastle by the Al Kharafi family last year had also reportedly been a possibility.

Liverpool's 350 million pound loan is due to be renegotiated in July and sources have claimed both Hicks and co-owner George Gillett, who own Liverpool shares at 50-50 and therefore need to be in agreement to sell the club, both have a new willingness to find the right buyer.

The key negotiater from the Al Kharafi family is believed to be Nasser's nephew, Rafed Al Kharafi.

Construction, plus a number of other activities in banking, catering and tourism, are the basis of the family's wealth, the site continued.

Liverpool's discussions with the Al Kharafis started when Liverpool's finance director, Phillip Nash, a close ally of Hicks, went to Kuwait earlier this week.

Nash had been hoping for help in Liverpool's project for a new ground, yet it is believed a 600 million-pound sale of the club was the main motivation.

The talks with the Al Kharafis is in fact the second time within 12 months that the American owners have tried to sell the five-time European champions to the same family.

The Kuwaitis suddenly ended talks early last year when Gillett had tried to bring about a possible sale and it is thought Hicks's decision to once more attempt a deal on his own initiative annoyed Gillett, creating more distrust between the two men.

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