Fast forward to the present and the company that has since been overseeing the club’s remarkable off-field recovery, along with the incredible work of Jurgen Klopp and his players on it, could make one of the biggest steps of his Anfield tenure.
Reports from America suggest that FSG – which owns both Boston Red Sox and Liverpool – is about to sell a 25% stake in the company to another founded by Moneyball pioneer Billy Beane.
It is alleged that the merger would value FSG at $ 8 billion and result in the company being listed on the public stock exchange.
Football finance expert Kieran Maguire tried to explain in an interview published yesterday with ECHO what this could mean for Liverpool FC (Read it in full here).
But with the memory of Hicks and Gillett ingrained in the minds of Reds fans forever, could the publicly listed club lead to unwanted or hostile takeovers in the future?
Liverpool University lecturer Maguire also addressed this on a special blood red podcast.
“Anyone can invest in it if the company is publicly traded, yes,” he said.
“But that doesn’t mean what is called“ free float ”- ie the shares traded on the stock exchange make up 100% of the shares. If we look at Manchester United and buy all of the stocks available on the stock exchange, you only get 8-9% of the vote as the way Manchester United has done it is pretty smart.
“Manchester United has two types of stocks – and I suspect that could be the case with FSG. There are A and B shares – and the A shares each have one vote, while the B shares each have 10 votes. In order to have a B component by chance, you must also have the last name ‘Glazer’.
* Listen to the full podcast with Kieran Maguire HERE
“This means that the glaziers retain control of the association in terms of voting rights, while the other shareholders retain a very small part of their ability (to make decisions).
“We’re seeing some pretty big mutual funds with Manchester United building significant stakes in the club, but they can’t force a takeover of the club and they can’t dictate terms because the Glazer family itself is in control of that type of stock .
“And by the way, that’s quite common in the USA. If you look at Facebook or Google, American companies often work that way. It allows owners to get the best of both worlds. You stay in control and receive extra money. ”
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Manchester United and Juventus are two of the largest football clubs whose parent companies are listed on the stock exchange.
Maguire added, “The history of football on the stock exchange is mixed. It was hugely popular in the late 1980s when clubs like Tottenham, Hearts, Sheffield United, Arsenal and Millwall went public, but they found the exchange’s compliance costs and requirements were too high.
“However, I feel that at the time these clubs were not big enough institutions to warrant a listing. Liverpool is different. They are a global club in terms of its endorsement and in terms of sponsorship and commercial partnerships.
“And that’s why I think Liverpool could be caught in an exchange framework pretty easily.”
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