The Liverpool football club soap opera moved to an Eastenders level of bizarreness this week, when I heard that the board of directors of the club had approved its sale only for this to be ‘blocked’ by the shareholders of the club. When I heard this, I presumed it was some kind of non-event and frankly a PR stunt on the part of those desperate to see the club change ownership.
As a corporate lawyer, I did not see what all the fuss was about. I had assumed that Liverpool football club was a private limited company and that unless there was something pretty unusual in its constitution, then the Company’s shareholders were free to sell their shares in the company (or not) to whoever they want.
This story clearly has some distance to run. I understand that when the last board of directors was appointed or funding stream for the club approved, certain undertakings were wrung from the shareholders in favour of their bank in connection with the proposed sale of the club. Those undertakings seem to be unravelling a bit at the moment given that the owners of the club are in the process of removing the existing board and appointing their own.
Two things spring to mind – the lawyers will have a field day with this (it’s an ill wind you know) and what further bizarre twists can we expect in this story? Will Tom Hicks be abducted by aliens, or will we discover that the potential buyer is actually the long-lost brother/son/etc of one of the shareholders?
I don’t know about you but for once this is a soap opera I won’t be missing.