Last updated : 16 June 2004 By editor

Thailand's biggest entertainment company, GMM Grammy PCL , is putting together a private consortium to buy a 30 percent stake in Liverpool. The bid will replace the one from Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The group -- which could include Thailand's biggest brewer and its largest cellular phone firm -- would need about five billion baht ($122 million) for the stake in the club and other activities, said Grammy Chairman Paiboon Damrongchaitham.

"I think this deal should be done via the private sector and we will take the risk of a profit or loss," Paiboon said in a statement.

Thaksin abandoned the idea of buying the stake on behalf of Thailand after Paiboon offered to replace the government at the negotiating table, the prime minister's chief negotiator said on Wednesday.

"Paiboon proposed to do it on condition that the government would provide 10 soccer stadiums nationwide ... and the prime minister has agreed with the idea," Deputy Commerce Minister Pongsak Raktapongisal told a Bangkok radio station. It was not clear if Thaksin had agreed to build new facilities, or upgrade existing stadiums.

Thaksin had spearheaded negotiations with Liverpool since May, but public opinion on the deal soured when it emerged he would use state money rather than his vast personal fortune. Earlier this month Thaksin scrapped a proposed one-off national lottery to finance the bid after critics said the unorthodox plan would promote gambling among the poor.'