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Chinese businessman Huang eyes Liverpool bid

Are George Gillett (L) and Tom Hicks on the verge of selling Liverpool?
Are George Gillett (L) and Tom Hicks on the verge of selling Liverpool?
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Chinese businessman Kenneth Huang makes enquiry about buying English club Liverpool
  • Royal Bank of Scotland confirm to CNN Huang contacted them about a deal
  • Liverpool has been officially up for sale since April
  • Current American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks are unpopular with fans

(CNN) -- Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton claims there have been "several" bids for the club after Chinese businessman Kenneth Huang's interest was confirmed to CNN.

A spokesman for the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) told CNN that Huang made an enquiry about buying the English Premier League club, and that he was passed on to Broughton and investment bank Barclays Capital.

Barclays Capital and Liverpool would only confirm to CNN that the process was "ongoing."

The English club's current owners -- American duo George Gillett and Tom Hicks -- put the club up for sale in April and appointed British Airways chairman Broughton to oversee the deal.

I'm staying at Liverpool, says Fernando Torres

The pair took control of the club three years ago but have endured widespread protests against their ownership due to the amount of debt they loaded onto the club.

Accounts published in June 2009 revealed the club's debts were $462 million and that they had paid $54 million of interest payments to RBS, to service an estimated debt to the bank of around $377 million.

The club did receive a boost on Tuesday though, with the news that star striker Fernando Torres was staying at the club. The Spanish forward had been linked with a host of top sides but he told the club's official website he was "really happy" at Anfield.

News of Huang's interest was widely reported in the British press on Tuesday, with the UK Press Association quoting Broughton as saying there were "several" bids for the club.

"Any bids that go straight to RBS - and there have been several - come to me and are directed to Barcap (Barclays Capital)," he said. "RBS are not involved. The control remains with the board.

It still remains the objective to conclude a deal before the end of the transfer window.
--Martin Broughton, Liverpool chairman
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"It still remains the objective to conclude a deal before the end of the transfer window. That remains the objective but there are no deadlines, and we will continue working to complete the process.

"Both George Gillett and Tom Hicks remain on the board and they have given commitments that the board of Kop Holdings [Liverpool's UK parent company] is the party that is responsible for the sale."

According to reports in the Chinese press, Huang was born in Guangzhou and studied at his hometown university before switching to the United States and Columbia University. He became the first Chinese graduate to work at the New York Stock Exchange.

He is chief executive of Chinese sports investment company QSL and is reported as having a stake in baseball team the New York Yankees as well as NBA side Cleveland Cavaliers.

Liverpool's fans have long protested against Gillett and Hicks' regime and the club finished a disappointing seventh in the Premier League last season, missing out on qualification for the lucrative Champions League.

Former manager Rafael Benitez left the club for Inter Milan and was replaced by Roy Hodgson, who left Fulham to take up the post at Anfield. He has since signed England international Joe Cole.

News of a potential sale will provide encouragement to Hodgson, who may be afforded additional transfer funds if any deal goes through.