LONDON - Chinese businessman Kenny Huang has withdrawn from the bidding process to take over Premier League club Liverpool, read a statement issued by his Hong Kong representatives on Friday.
Huang, chairman of the Hong Kong-based QSL Sports Group, had previously said he wanted to invest in the five-times European champions, put up for sale by American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett in April, but had not launched a formal bid.
"After due consideration, Kenny Huang and QSL Sports is withdrawing from the ongoing sales process with respect to Liverpool FC. Mr. Huang has formally notified the Chairman of the Liverpool FC Board," said the statement.
"Over the past few months we learned first hand that Liverpool has a very special place in the hearts of millions of fans around the world," Huang said.
"We concluded that a plan that properly capitalises the business and provides funds for a new stadium and player related costs would allow Liverpool FC to provide its great fans with the success they deserve.
"Our strategy and unique ability to expand the fan base in Asia would also have been of benefit to all. We regret that we will not have the opportunity to implement this strategy." The statement gave no reasons for Huang's decision to pull out of the race to buy the Merseyside club.
Liverpool's managing director Christian Purslow said earlier this week the 18-times English champions, who owe their major creditors Royal Bank of Scotland 237 million pounds, were examining a number of takeover offers.
According to British media reports, as many as six potential parties had looked at buying the Anfield club, which is expected to fetch 400 million pounds or more, bankers have told Reuters.
Hicks and Gillett, who bought the club in 2007 for 218.9 million pounds, have appointed British Airways chief Martin Broughton as chairman to oversee the sale alongside Barclays Capital, who have been instructed to find a buyer.
Syrian businessman Yahya Kirdi said earlier this month he was in the final stages of negotiations to buy Liverpool, while another potential investor, Kuwait-based Kharafi Group, told Reuters that contrary to media reports it would not bid.
Huang, a Guandong-born U.S. citizen who has interests in Chinese baseball, added in Friday's statement:
"We thank the many Liverpool fans who expressed support for our efforts and wish the club great success in the years to come. I am now considering my future options and will be making no further comment at this time."comments