Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) ignored a takeover bid from Chinese consortium The Sinofortone Group back in February, sources have told ESPN FC.
The letter of interest, for a bid in the region of £700 million (after the club was valued at £650m in the latest Forbes figures), received no response from the Boston-based owners and no further contact has been made as Sinofortone officials were shocked at the lack of dialogue over their offer.
The Sinofortone group specialise in “infrastructure and equity investments, EPCM and project management” and there is growing interest in Premier League clubs from China, where President Xi Jinping has made it clear that investment in football is one of the state’s priorities.
Xi was pictured with Sinofortone’s Peter Zhang during a state visit to the UK in October last year and the company has invested £5.2 billion in the United Kingdom in the past 12 months.
FSG’s commitment to the club was waning last season and senior officials made it clear Liverpool was available for the right price. Even if a complete buyout was not on the table then the owners would have considered a part investment.
Indeed, Liverpool were in talks with individuals who purported to represent Jack Ma, the Chinese owner of the Alibaba, a huge e-commerce company, but the discussions were broken off abruptly earlier this year.
However, FSG’s commitment to Liverpool has now been reignited by the arrival of Jurgen Klopp. The American owners believe that the German manager can win trophies and that value of their asset will grow when the next television deal kicks in.
The current TV deal, which begins this season, is worth £5.2bn. If Liverpool finish in the top half of the table they can expect to earn at least £130m by next May.