Carlsberg A/S (CARLA), the Danish brewer whose beer is sold in more than 130 countries, plans talks on extending its sponsorship of Liverpool FC after U.S. sport tycoons George Gillett and Tom Hicks today agreed to buy the English soccer club.
``We've been in regular talks with Liverpool about an extension and we will soon speak in more detail with the club,'' Keld Strudahl, senior international marketing director with Carlsberg, said today in a telephone interview from Aare, Sweden. He said Carlsberg had closely followed the takeover of the northwest England club and been kept informed of developments.
Carlsberg has been Liverpool's main sponsor since 1992, the longest-running partnership in English soccer's Premiership. The current contract is due to expire in August this year.
``We've had a great partnership and I don't think neither Carlsberg nor Liverpool want to end that,'' Strudahl said. The Danish brewer hasn't yet spoken to the new owners, he said.
Liverpool said today it accepted an offer worth 174 million pounds ($343 million) from HM Capital Partners LLC, owned by Gillett and Hicks. The pair will also assume 44.8 million pounds of debt and fund a new stadium costing 215 million pounds.
Bookmaker William Hill Plc (WMH) offers odds of 7/1 on Carlsberg becoming name sponsor for the new stadium after Gillett said the club may sell the naming rights to raise funds for transfers.
Adidas AG (ADS), which makes Liverpool's jerseys, is rated a 14/1 chance to sponsor the stadium with the same odds compiler, meaning customers betting 1 pound would win 14. Liverpool's current stadium is named Anfield after its address.
The United Arab Emirates-based Emirates airline paid 100 million pounds to sponsor London-rival Arsenal's shirts and name its new stadium which opened last year.
Carlsberg is focusing marketing efforts on soccer and has scaled down other sport sponsorships such as golf, Strudahl said.
``Soccer is now very important and contributes significantly to Carlsberg's marketing strategy,'' he said.
The Danish beermaker will sponsor the European soccer championships in 2008 and is also the main sponsor of Denmark's leading soccer team F.C. Copenhagen.
Carlsberg shares fell 1 krone to 602 kroner in Copenhagen.
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