Liverpool FC turns to Grabiner as ownership dispute heads to High Court

Liverpool Football Club has instructed One Essex Court silk Lord Grabiner QC in its High Court showdown with US owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

Lord Grabiner QC
Lord Grabiner QC

The case, which is expected to be heard in the next few days, will determine the fate  of the football club.

Grabiner has been instructed by Slaughter and May partner Efstathios Michael to lead the battle for control of the club. Liverpool FC is subject to a £300m takeover by Boston Red Sox owners New England Sport Ventures (NESV).

Liverpool FC chairman Martin Broughton has instructed separate counsel to the board, although he is keen to push the sale through. Monckton Chambers’ Paul Harris has been instructed by Couchman Harrington partner Satish Khandke  to act for Broughton. Meanwhile, Serle Court silk Philip Marshall QC has been brought on board to respond to company law issues in the case.

The club’s US owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are attempting to block the move because they feel the offer undervalues the club.

Grabiner, who will lead One Essex Court junior Jamie Goldsmith, will go head to head with Maitland Chambers’  Paul Girolami QC, who has been instructed by Peters & Peters partner Jonathan Tickner and partner Keith Oliver for Hicks and GIllett.

The introduction of Grabiner is the latest addition to an army of lawyers involved in the battle for the club.

On the takeover, Slaughters has fielded a team acting for the club led by corporate rainmaker Nigel Boardman and corporate partner Mark Zerdin (6 October 2010).

Weil Gotshal & Manges London managing partner Mike Francies is understood to be advising Hicks and Gillett.

Meanwhile, Shearman & Sterling European managing partner Creighton Condon is understood to be leading the Shearman team acting for longstanding client New England Sports Ventures (NESV).

The case is due to be heard in Court 18 of the Royal Courts of Justice tomorrow morning.