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American owners to sell Liverpool

George Gillett (L) and Tom Hicks pose with a team scarf at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool.
George Gillett (L) and Tom Hicks pose with a team scarf at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool.
  • George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks put English Premier League side Liverpool up for sale
  • British Airways boss Martin Broughton appointed as new club chairman
  • Hicks and Gillett say ownership has been "rewarding and exciting"
  • Liverpool's revenues up 55 percent since 2007 takeover by Americans

(CNN) -- George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks, the American billionaire owners of English Premier League side Liverpool, have announced their intention to sell the club in a statement on the team's official Web site.

The duo, who bought the club for $338 million in 2007, confirmed that Barclays Capital will advise on the sale process after "numerous expressions of interest from third parties."

Liverpool also announced the boss of British Airways, Martin Broughton, has been appointed as chairman to oversee the sale.

Hicks and Gillett's statement read: "Owning Liverpool ... over these past three years has been a rewarding and exciting experience for us and our families.

Are English soccer clubs worth the investment?

"Having grown the club this far we have now decided together to look to sell the club to owners committed to take the club through its next level of growth and development."

Blog: In defence of Gillett and Hicks ...

In June 2009, the public accounts of Kop Football (Holdings) Limited -- the company which owns Liverpool and is headed by Gillett and Hicks -- revealed that under the tenure of the Americans the net debt of the club had reached $462 million.

The day the club was sold to the Americans was one of the worst in the club's history
--Former player Mark Lawrenson

The financial report also showed that $54 million of interest payments had been required to service this debt during the financial year that ended in July 2008.

Despite this, Gillett and Hicks added there had been a "significant improvement in the financial performance of the club" during their time in charge.

The pair stated that revenues had increased by 55 percent since 2007, while operating profits (before player trading and exceptions) were up by 60 percent.

The statement added the side, who are one of the most successful and widely supported clubs in world football, will continue to progress the "well-advanced plans" for a new, state-of-the-art stadium near to their current home of Anfield.

Former player and soccer commentator Mark Lawrenson, who won the European Cup with Liverpool in 1984, told CNN the news would be welcomed by many associated with the club.

"They have done nothing for [Liverpool] -- the day the club was sold to the Americans was one of the worst in the club's history.

"[The] news of the sale means it's a great day ... but it's a long, long [path] to get the club back to the position they used to be in."

Lawrenson added there were key priorities for whoever may come in to buy the side: "We want someone who will get the club at the right price and build the new stadium -- they need to bring in new players as well. As long as they come in and deliver on their promises unlike the Americans."

James McKenna, head of Liverpool supporters' group "Spirit of Shankly" told CNN: "It's been an unbelievable situation with boardroom struggles being played out in the public.

"The news [Gillett and Hicks] are looking to sell the club is something all fans will welcome."