Date: 23rd January 2009 at 9:37am
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Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks in talks with Kuwait billionaire, Nasser Al-Kharafi over a possible takeover.

It is understood meetings have taken place in London between aides of the tycoon, who has an estimated £9bn fortune, and Hicks’ representatives. Hicks and his co-owner George Gillet are valuing the club at around £550m. The American duo’s reign has been dogged by controversy since their £218m takeover in February 2007 and it appears they are now willing to sell.

Reports suggest talks with Al-Kharafi initially took place as part of attempts to finance Liverpool’s proposed new stadium in Stanley Park, but turned to a buy-out. Liverpool’s commercial director Ian Ayre and finance director Philip Nash have been in the Middle East to continue the discussions. BBC Sport understands that even though the relationship between Hicks and Gillett has been troubled, they may be united in their desire to sell at the right price.

It has also been suggested that the Al-Kharafi family would take a 50% stake in the club with Hicks and Gillett then retaining 25% each – but Anfield sources suggest this is unlikely.

The Al-Kharafi family have made their fortune from a variety of enterprises, including construction, banking, engineering, telecommunications and fast food. They were originally approached by Liverpool last year. The talks broke down but have now been revived, with Hicks – a supporter of Benitez amid the recent boardroom turmoil at Anfield – seemingly the driving force.