Saudi firm in talks to buy Liverpool

RIYADH - Private Saudi sports investment company F6 is in direct talks with George Gillett, the American co-owner of Liverpool, to buy all or part of his 50 percent stake in the club, a company official said on Monday.

"We have not reached a final agreement yet ... We are discussing how much 25 percent or 50 percent in Liverpool will be worth," Gassim Hamidaddin, F6's deputy managing director, told Reuters by telephone.

F6 has signed a memorandum of understanding with the George Gillett Group for an exclusive cooperation that would lead to opening Liverpool academies in the Middle East and North Africa and develop race tracks to introduce NASCAR to the Middle East.

"There was a clause in this agreement that opened the possibility of buying a stake in Liverpool," Hamidaddin said.

On Sunday, al-Riyadh newspaper quoted F6 Chairman Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdullah as saying he was willing to pay between 200 million and 350 million pounds for between 25 and 50 percent of the Anfield Stadium side.

Hamidaddin said these figures "were not 100 percent accurate."

Gillett and fellow American Tom Hicks - Liverpool's co-owner - have had a stormy relationship since purchasing the club for 218.9 million pounds in 2007 and neither wants to sell his stake to the other.

Hicks and Gillett were in talks in January to sell the club, England's most successful, for 500 million pounds including debt to investors from the region, including Kuwait, but talks broke down over price, one of those involved said.

Before that, UAE-based Dubai International Capital vied in 2007 for a stake in Liverpool.