Liverpool FC to reap benefits as Gillett sells Canadiens

Liverpool, the English soccer club, is set to reap the benefits from co-owner George Gillett's sale of the Montreal Canadiens NHL franchise.

Liverpool, the English soccer club, is set to reap the benefits from co-owner George Gillett's sale of the Montreal Canadiens NHL franchise.

Gillett has agreed to sell his 80.1 per cent stake of the club as well as its arena and event promotion companym for a reported figure of US$550 million, a huge profit on the US$275 million he paid for his share in 2001. The price was driven up by competing bidders, with three of the Molson brothers, from the family which owns the other 19.9 per cent of the club, outbidding a number of other parties, including Quebecor Media.

"I am fully confident that the Molson brothers, who have been a great part of the heritage of the club, will ensure the preservation and development of this great sports institution," said Gillett, who described himself as, "pleased to return the ownership of the Canadiens to the Molson family, a family that has been associated with the club for over three generations and committed to the Montreal community for seven generations over a 223-year period."

Geoff Molson added: "This is a very exciting time for our family." The deal must be approved by the NHL's Board of Governors, but that is simply a formality. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said: "To the extent that they've been able to find people who are obviously passionate about the game and structure a transaction that makes sense for everybody, that's a real plus for the franchise and the fans in Montreal."