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China online gaming tycoon in talks to buy Liverpool: report

sports Updated: May 12, 2010 11:27 IST
Chinese Internet gaming tycoon

A Chinese Internet gaming tycoon has confirmed he is in talks to buy British football club Liverpool, Chinese media reported on Wednesday.

Zhu Jun, chairman of Nasdaq-listed online game company The9 Limited, said the negotiations to buy Liverpool were "ongoing", but added that the outcome was hard to predict, the Beijing Times reported.

Officials at Shanghai-based The9 said they could not immediately confirm the comments when contacted by AFP.

Zhu, who already owns Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua, has held two preliminary meetings with Barclays Capital, the investment bank hired to handle the sale, Britain's Independent newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources.

Chairman of debt-ridden Liverpool Martin Broughton, who is also chief of British Airways, is looking for a new buyer to replace the club's American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who have owned the club since 2007.

Accounts released this month showed Liverpool posted an operating loss before tax of 16 million pounds (23 million dollars) in the year ending July 31, 2009.

The 800 million-pound price tag circulated among potential bidders has deterred many potential investors while Zhu is among those willing to buy the club at a "decent" price, the Independent said, citing unnamed sources.

A number of possible investors have been linked with the Anfield outfit, including former Syria international footballer Yahya Kirdi.

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