A Liverpool supporter expresses his frustration in the stands at the club's home ground, Anfield.
Fans of the Liverpool Football Club, a British soccer team owned by veteran buyout investor Thomas O. Hicks and his partner George Gillett Jr., are preparing to score a buyout of their own.
Fans are, either individually or in pools, purchasing shares at the price of £5,000 ($10,000) each in the team, known as the Reds. The game plan is to amass £500 million from 100,000 Reds fans to buy the team and build a new stadium. Just days after a website, shareliverpoolfc.co.uk, was launched to facilitate the fundraising, some 12,000 fans e-mailed their interest in buying shares. (The website crashed shortly after it was opened because of the number of people trying to access it.)
According to the website, the fan-owned soccer team would be run by a board elected by the share owners, and the ownership structure would include predator protection to prevent hostile takeovers.
Fans blame Messrs. Hicks and Gillett for a less than stellar season and also are concerned that ticket prices will balloon to pay off the loans used to buy the team as happened after U.S. investors bought rival Manchester United. Fans fear Liverpool's $682 million in loans will be paid off the same way.
Mr. Hicks founder and former partner of private equity firm Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst nows runs Hicks Holdings LLC, Dallas. So, would he entertain a sale if the fans raise the money? A spokesman for Mr. Hicks who declined to be identified refused to comment. But he did manage a defensive play: Hicks Holdings is a family office, not an investment firm, so I'm not sure why P&I would be interested in anything he does or thinks.