Following the late night events of Wednesday and the temporary restraining order gained in the Dallas 160th District Court, Liverpool FC under the guidance of Lord Grabiner returned to the High Court once more in an attempt to get it removed, of which Justice Floyd returned a verdict in their favour just before 530pm UK time.
Mr Justice Floyd announced that Hicks and Gillett have until 4pm GMT tomorrow to comply with the order and withdraw their actions in Texas, USA,Â which prevented the sale of the club to NESV. Liverpool FC were made aware of the restraining order just 5 minutes prior to the commencement of their board meeting on Wednesday night, following their initial court victory. John Henry of New England Sports Ventures (NESV) was also at the meeting, hoping to conclude the sale for an unveiling alongside his NESV Chairman Tom Werner today in London, Werner delayed his flight to the UK for the present time.
The day had began with reports that Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks had taken the steps of selling his shares to Mill Financial, who already control the stake of George Gillett in the club, following default on his borrowing from them which was secured against his 50% share holding, the Associated Press later reported that this was not in fact the case and that Hicks continued to retain his shares.
Prior to the 2pm start of todays matters in High Court, Singapore businessman Peter Lim arrived back on the scene but this time to confirm via a statement that he had withdrawn his bid for the club, a bid that he had recently increased and publicly announced whilst Liverpool battled it out in court the first time. His reasons given for the change of mind based largely around his belief that Liverpool were intent only on selling the club to NESV and also their lack of response to his contact.
Peter Lim (Meriton) Statement:
“It has become clear to me that the Board is intent on selling the club to New England Sports Ventures (NESV) to the exclusion of all other parties, regardless of the merits of their bids, in these circumstances, I am not able to proceed with my intention to acquire the club.”
“I have tried to engage constructively with the board and Royal Bank of Scotland based on an offer, funded from my existing resources, providing greater value for Liverpool Football Club, more cash for players, full repayment of all bank debts and a long term personal commitment to build a better future for the Club and its supporters.”
“The board and RBS have chosen not to respond or to discuss my offer with me. My representatives even offered to meet the board last night. This was ignored, although NESV was invited to attend that meeting.”
Lim also said his interest in buying Liverpool could be revived if “current events cause the circumstances to change”, leaving the door very slightly ajar.
Whilst Lord Grabiner Â worked on the “outrageous” behaviour of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, preventing the club from being sold, no representative from the H&G camp attended the High Court due to apparently “being out of the office for the afternoon”. WhilstÂ QC Snowden, speaking for RBS, remarked “Texas court appearts to have been told remarkably little about yesterday’s verdict. This is the most outrageous abuse of process.”, news broke that Hicks & Gillett were also in court but over in Texas.
Mr Justice Floyd commented on the previous nights event that “it is plain that the owner’s case in Texas had been in preparation for some considerable time” and described the summary of the High Court case detailed in the owner’s temporary petition to the Dallas court as “impoverished”. Just after 520pm Justice Floyd presented a second victory to the Liverpool board and RBS when he ruled that theÂ anti-suit injunction sought by RBS and the Liverpool board against the owner’s action in Texas was granted. “This case has nothing to do with Texas.”
Mr Justice Floyd head earlier added that on the face of the information presented to him that it amounted to “unconscionable conduct on the part of Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett”.
Just prior to a court hearing getting underway in Dallas at 7pm UK time, the Liverpool board issued a further statement on the events at High Court.
“The Independent Directors of Liverpool Football Club are delighted with the verdict of Mr. Justice Floyd in the High Court this afternoon which now requires Mr. Hicks and Mr. Gillett to withdraw their Texas Restraining Order by 4pm tomorrow.
We are glad to have taken another important step towards completing the sale process.”
Over in Dallas a result was not obtained as Judge Jim Jordan, who issued the temporary restraining order 24hrs previous, adjourned the hearing for the day, asking all parties to return in the morning Stateside, which leaves only a matter of hours before the well documented RBS deadline and that also of the directives of Justice Floyd in the High Court to prevent Hicks & Gillett being placed in contempt of court.
The date of October 15th 2010 has long been in the mind of many a Liverpool fan, the club itself and journalists alike but it is unlikely that anyone could have foreseen just how many twists and turns this roller coaster was going to deliver.
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