Thai PM the only bidder, Morgan withdraws

BANGKOK: Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is the only party bidding for a stake in English Premier League club Liverpool after rival Steve Morgan withdrew yesterday. 

British building tycoon Morgan, whose bid was rebuffed by the Liverpool board last week, announced he was withdrawing after a revised offer to invest in the club was also turned down. 

“I am very disappointed with the outcome (of the revised bid) and feel that I have no option but to withdraw my offer,” Morgan, a Merseyside-born lifelong Liverpool supporter, said in a statement issued by his company. 

“I am a proud supporter of Liverpool FC but feel that the uncertainty and constant speculation surrounding its future is undignified for the club and its fans. 

“The proposal from (the company) Bridgemere would have guaranteed a large capital injection to take Liverpool FC forward, it was only ever done with the best interests of the club at heart and would have given the ordinary fans an opportunity to participate in ownership of their club,” Morgan said. 

Telecoms-tycoon turned politician Thaksin said he did not expect to wrap up the deal until next week at the earliest. 

Negotiations over the Thai 4.6bil baht (US$113mil) bid for a 30% stake in the club are believed to have stalled over the level of representation on the Liverpool board. 

“There definitely won't be any signing this Friday, Saturday or Sunday,” Thaksin said in response to media reports that the deal could be completed this weekend. 

“But we are trying to wrap up the deal next week because we don't want to see it drag on,” he told reporters. 

The Thais want two seats on the Liverpool board while the club are offering only one, Thai newspapers reported. 

Liverpool are 51% owned by chairman David Moores, whose family has had control for half a century, and 9.9% owned by television company Granada. 

Thaksin has said Moores' holding would drop to around 35% if the deal went ahead. 

“The pending issue in the talks involves the question of minority protection. We don't hold the majority. 30% is a minority and there should be reasonable protection. It is not a small amount of money,” Thaksin said. 

Liverpool officials have said the talks are ongoing, but refuse to comment further. – Reuters 

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