Bill Gates was offered chance to buy Liverpool by Hicks and Gillett

Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft were offered the chance to buy Liverpool as the reign of Tom Hicks and George Gillett came to an end.

The information is revealed in court documents from an ongoing legal battle between a company called Mill Financial and Gillett and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Hicks and Gillett agreed to sell Liverpool in April 2010 when they were unable to keep up with repayments of the money borrowed to purchase the club in 2007.

Barclays Capital were appointed to find potential buyers, and documents from the commercial division of the New York County Supreme Court show that Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, was approached in a worldwide search for interested parties.

In a deposition, Sir Martin Broughton, who was then the Liverpool chairman, was asked whether he was aware that "there was at least an attempt to contact Bill Gates and Bob Kraft in the U.S." and replied: "Correct."

Broughton was then asked whether he was aware that Barclays Capital were presenting "efforts being made for investors in Hong Kong, Norway."

He said the search for new owners "covered every continent" and involved "contacts with people around the world."

Gates did not respond to the approach while Kraft rebuffed the opportunity to buy the Reds, having also turned down an approach from David Moores in 2005.

New England Sports Ventures, now known as Fenway Sports Group, eventually purchased Liverpool for £300 million in October 2010, with Hicks and Gillett claiming the deal was an "epic swindle."