Tom Hicks-owned Liverpool soccer club sold after Dallas judge lifts restraining order
02:21 PM CDT on Friday, October 15, 2010
By ERIC TORBENSON and BRENDAN CASE/The Dallas Morning News
Dallas financier Tom Hicks had his ownership of Liverpool Football Club sold from under him Friday after he ended a legal effort to have a Texas judge halt the sale.
Liverpool was officially sold to Boston Red Sox owners New England Sports Ventures, controlled by John W. Henry, shortly before 10 a.m. Dallas time.
Hicks attorney asked state District Court Judge Jim Jordan to first dissolve a restraining order put in place Wednesday. Later Friday, Hicks attorneys said they also would withdraw Hicks’ entire suit that asks for $1.6 billion in damages.
His lawyers cited a ruling Thursday in England that specifically prevents Hicks from taking other legal action to halt the sale.
“We believe the order is overbroad and unfair,” said Tom Melsheimer of Fish & Richardson. “We believe that once the English court finally has a chance to hear all the facts, a very different picture will be painted.”
The lack of a restraining order cleared the way for the sale of Liverpool in a deal valued at $475 million.
English courts ruled Thursday that Hicks and his attorneys can’t interfere with that process. In district court this morning, Jordan seemed to agree with attorneys for NESV that Hicks’ lawyers were asking for the same sort of relief here in Texas that the British courts had already denied.
“Would you agree that the case in England covers the same issues here?” Jordan asked Geoffrey Harper of Fish & Richardson PC, representing Hicks in the 7 a.m. hearing. “It’s all pertaining to the sale of the club, no?”
Harper agreed that Hicks’ stance was that a sale was inevitable but that he retained rights to limit his losses, and hence would still bring a $1.6 billion damage claim against Liverpool’s board of directors.
Friday’s actions ended the restraining order and Hicks’ motions to hold Liverpool’s board in contempt of Jordan’s order. The damage claim fight is just beginning.
NESV’s attorney, Haynes & Boones’ George Bramblett, said before the hearing that he thought the withdrawal of the request for a restraining order reflected a lack of confidence in the tactic. “I can only assume they’re doing it because they expect to lose” on the arguments to keep it in place, he said before the hearing.
The two sides in filings this week had argued about whether the Texas court had a greater stake to the parties at hand or whether the issues should have been fought in London.
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On the brighter side, Hicks’ Dallas Stars – which are for sale – did beat rival Detroit Thursday night.
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