After a turbulent start to the season that saw them already suffer twice as many defeats as they did in the whole of the 2021/22 campaign, Liverpool fans were given something to cheer about last week. Despite failing to claim top spot in their Champions League group, they enjoyed a comfortable win over unbeaten Napoli before going onto claim an unexpected victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
With things potentially looking up for the Reds ahead of the World Cup break, it came as no surprise that something had happen to stir things up once again. Following the Champions League draw in which Liverpool were confirmed to face Real Madrid, reports emerged that Fenway Sports Group were putting the club up for sale. A statement via The Athletic read: “There have been a number of recent changes of ownership and rumours of changes in ownership at EPL clubs and inevitably we are asked regularly about Fenway Sports Group’s ownership in Liverpool.
“FSG has frequently received expressions of interest from third parties seeking to become shareholders in Liverpool. FSG has said before that under the right terms and conditions we would consider new shareholders if it was in the best interests of Liverpool as a club. FSG remains fully committed to the success of Liverpool, both on and off the pitch.”
FSG took full ownership of Liverpool when they bought the club from George Gillett and Tom Hicks back in 2010 and have since overseen the club’s most successful era in over 30 years. The company, principally owned by John W. Henry, appointed Jurgen Klopp as manager in 2015 and have been at their helm as the team claimed their first top-flight title since 1990, as well as the Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup, Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
Despite their success, FSG have come under scrutiny from fans for their lack of funding, while they have also previously looked at opportunities to sell the club. However, this is the first time they have confirmed they are open to offers from interested parties and it comes as no surprise that a number of investors have already been linked - one being the Dubai International Capital.
Who are Dubai International Capital?
With Middle Eastern investment looking as an increasingly likely option given the wealth of the Gulf states, DIC were one of the first to be linked with Liverpool following FSG’s statement. According to Tuesday’s report by Arabian Business, DIC ‘could be eyeing’ ownership of the Reds and it is believed that they will look to make a £4.3 billion bid to FSG. This could be a very tempting offer for the current Liverpool owners, who are said to want around £4bn for the Merseyside club. So who are their potential new owners?
Dubai International Capital is the international investment arm of Dubai Holding - a global conglomerate and sovereign wealth fund of the government of Dubai. Founded in 2004, the company invests in public and private equity through three divisions:
• Private equity - Invests in mid-cap companies in Europe and North America with a focus on secondary buy-outs (Travelodge, Merlin Entertainments, Doncasters, Mauser, Alliance Medical and Almatis)
• Emerging markets - Manages abroad investment program across the Middle East and North Africa region (LBOs, funds, co-investments, infrastructure, growth, development capital)
• Public equities - Focused on investment in Fortune 500 companies through its DFSA regulated US$1.5 billion Global Strategic Equities Fund (Sony, EADS)
The company was founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum - the vice president, prime minister and minister of defence of the United Arab Emirates and also the ruler of Dubai. The 73-year-old also founded Emirates Airline. Alongside the founder, DIC’s chairman, Sameer al-Ansari, is also a life-long Liverpool fan.
Dubai International Capital’s 2007 bid
Their reported upcoming bid wouldn’t be the first time DIC had tried to buy Liverpool after they previously failed with a £312 million bid back in 2007. The Reds was instead sold to Gillett and Hicks, with Al Ansari claiming there was a hold-up with their bid due to him being a Liverpool fan. In a 2014 interview with Arabian Business, the DIC chairman said: “We would have been the first to do it [a takeover] out of this region,” Al Ansari said. “As soon as they [Liverpool] won the Champions League in 2005, we got serious about due diligence in 2006 and almost signed in January 2007.
“What delayed us is because everyone knew Sameer was a lifelong fan of Liverpool, including His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. So we did three times the amount of due diligence, as I had to prove the business sense and there were very few clubs, frankly, where you can make a business sense.”
How much is Dubai International Capital worth?
The group reportedly have a staggering $13bn worth of managed assets, according to research conducted by the University of Greenwich. That would make them the third richest owners in the Premier League - $4bn short of Manchester City’s Sheikh Mansour. Founder, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has his own personal fortune of around £12.2bn alone and generates most of his income from real estate, being described as ‘one of the world’s most prominent real estate developers’.