By Nick Harris
11 October 2010
A High Court hearing scheduled for tomorrow that could shape the future ownership of Liverpool pits RBS bank against Tom Hicks “and others”, and is NOT Liverpool’s legal action Hicks and George Gillett, which could yet happen separately, sportingintelligence has learned.
The case of ‘Royal Bank of Scotland v Hicks & others’ has been listed among a group of cases to be heard tomorrow by Mr Justice Floyd, sometime after 10.30am. In this case, RBS as the bank that loaned Hicks and Gillett money (via their Liverpool holding company), will be seeking judgement that undertakings given by Hicks and Gillett to RBS under the terms of their loan extension earlier this year are legally binding.
There were multiple undertakings and sportingintelligence is not party to all the details, but this website has been told that the key decision for the judge is: Were Hicks and Gillett in breach of undertakings given to RBS by trying remove Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre from Liverpool’s board last week?
RBS will argue Hicks and Gillett were in breach. If the judge agrees, then effectively Hicks and Gillett can do nothing more (pending appeal) to prevent the sale of Liverpool, as agreed by Liverpool’s board last week, to New England Sports Ventures. An RBS statement on the banks High Court action is within the story linked here.
Liverpool, ie: Liverpool FC and / or its “independent” board members Broughton, Purslow and Ayre, will still, separately, pursue a “declaratory” judgement against Hicks and Gillett, effectively seeking the same end goal as RBS, namely the legal right to sell to NESV.
But the significance of RBS and Liverpool / Broughton seeking separate judgements shouldn’t be underestimated: it means, and emphasises, that Liverpool / Broughton on the one hand, and RBS, independently, on the other hand, are now working to force through the NESV deal – and force Hicks and Gillett out.
Sportingintelligence further understands – as reflected to some extent in this article yesterday – that RBS has little appetite for putting in train any course of events that would plunge Liverpool into administration.
While there is a 15 October deadline for repayment of loans owed by Hicks & Gillett to the bank, it is entirely within RBS’s powers to be flexible with that deadline. RBS ultimately wants the outcome that is in the best interests for the stability of Liverpool, because ultimately the stability of Liverpool enhances the chances of RBS getting back all the money it leant. For now, administration remains more of a theoretical possibility than a probability.
As ever in this saga, the situation remains fluid.
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