It has been more than two months since news broke that Fenway Sports Group was open for sale to Liverpool, and despite the lack of concrete developments since then, conflicting reports were circulating on Sunday.
Those close to FSG continue to suggest that a partial sale of the club, rather than a full takeover, is now the most likely scenario.
But there are still rumors that a full sale is possible. In his Sunday letter to the Mail, sports finance journalist Alex Miller claims that Liverpool’s owners are in talks with officials representing the Qatar Investment Authority.
He adds that QIA will be open either to a full takeover of Liverpool or to acquire a controlling stake, and is “ready to leave if an agreement is not reached.”
In one tweet, Miller detailed the source of his information, saying he had spoken to “credible sources who specialize in mergers and acquisitions of football clubs.”
QIA, the Gulf country’s sovereign wealth fund, is a separate entity from Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), which is also credited with a stake in Liverpool in some circles.
No problem. Passing on what I have heard from credible sources that specialise in football club mergers and acquisitions…
— Alex Miller (@alexmiller73) January 22, 2023
Speculation that QSI could buy Liverpool from FSG has already been refuted by Times correspondent Martin Ziegler. They could not make a direct purchase of any other major European club because of their controlling stake in PSG.
QIA, however, hinted at investing in football in 2023. CEO Mansour Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud told Bloomberg: “Football clubs are becoming very commercialized. Digitalization is very important for us… the business models of these institutions are becoming very attractive for investment.”
Miller adds that QIA has “a lot of iron on fire” and “no club will demand a ransom.”
Elsewhere, Sam Wallace, who recently revealed that Liverpool are expecting bids for the club next month, instead now suggests that partial investment is the most likely outcome.
In his latest article for The Telegraph about the Manchester United takeover situation, Wallace says that “hopes for a full sale of Liverpool are gradually fading” and that “a compromise could be the sale of a part of the club that raises funds that can be reinvested.”.
So what or who to believe? It’s really hard to say at this stage. You would expect FSG to negotiate with a number of interested parties, and there will certainly be some interest from the Middle East.
But at the moment, this interest does not look formalized into anything that could lead to a potential deal with FSG.
The QIA link is something to keep an eye on, but at this stage nothing more.