DALLAS (CN) – A state judge blocked the Boston Red Sox’s corporate parent from buying the Liverpool FC professional soccer club. The English team’s owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr., said their club’s three directors agreed last week, against their wishes, to sell the team to New England Sports Ventures for $476 million.
Judge Jim Jordan of the 160th District Court issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday.
Hicks is the former owner of the Texas Rangers baseball club and current owner of the Dallas Stars hockey team. Gillett is the former owner of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team.
They said in a statement that New England Sports Ventures’ offer is “hundreds of millions of dollars below true market value, and well below Forbes magazine’s recent independent $822 million valuation of the club – and below multiple expressions of interest and offers to buy either the club in its entirety or make minority investments.”
Afterward, Liverpool’s directors issued a statement saying they are “resolved to complete the sale” and “consider the restraining order to be unwarranted and damaging and will move as swiftly as possible to seek to have it removed.”
Hicks and Gillett say the defendant Royal Bank of Scotland “has improperly used its influence as the club’s creditor and as a worldwide banking leader to prevent any transaction that would permit [the owners] to recover any of their initial investment in the club, much less share in the substantial appreciation in the value of Liverpool FC that their investments have created.”
The injunction came on the heels of a defeat for Hicks and Gillett earlier in the day in London’s High Court, which blocked their attempt to replace the three Liverpool board members despite an agreement with the bank not to interfere.
Hicks and Gillett claimed the three English board members who agreed to sell the club to NESV did not have a mandate to do so, according to The New York Times.
Judge Jordan set a hearing for Oct. 25.
Hicks’ and Gillett’s $376 million debt to the Royal Bank of Scotland is due Friday.