The Granada Media Group’s &£22m purchase of a 9.9 per cent share in Liverpool Football Club has bought it merchandising, TV and publishing rights, as well as a seat on the top club’s board.
Liverpool’s board expands from nine to ten as a result of the deal. Granada is expected to announce shortly who will take up its seat as a non-executive director.
Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry says: “The rightful place for Liverpool is on top of the pile, but we felt we couldn’t get there on our own. We had to bring in some investment. Now we have got some money, while at the same time gaining people with tremendous expertise.”
A spokeswoman for Granada says: “We will look to exploit the Liverpool FC brand and get significant asset growth from this deal. We have exploited the Coronation Street brand comprehensively, and we expect to do the same thing with Liverpool.”
Although Granada will explore the possibility of a Liverpool FC football channel, it does not own the rights to show live Premiership coverage, which currently rests with BSkyB.
The Office of Fair Trading said this week that it would look into the deal to see if Granada gained “undue material influence” on the running of the club, which has won the European Cup four times.
Observers say that in the wake of the aborted BSkyB takeover of Manchester United, this is the type of deal media companies will be making to get into football clubs.
Cable company NTL made a move to buy Newcastle earlier this year, while Tottenham and Arsenal have been linked with the Lon don-based media group Carlton Communications.