DALLAS Tom Hicks owns the NHL's Dallas Stars, baseball's Texas Rangers and co-owns Liverpool of English Premier League soccer because he's been a pro at turning borrowed money into handsome profits.

Few could match the tall American's ability in the world of leveraged corporate buyouts, and he used that wealth to become a force in the world of professional sports.

Now, though, Hicks' borrowing has clouded his future with the Rangers and the Stars, after he defaulted last month on US$525 million in loans tied to the U.S. teams. Liverpool, which Hicks co-owns with Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett, isn't caught in the same mess, but the club's indebtedness has drawn the ire of British lawmakers, who said major clubs' borrowing amounted to "financial doping."

Hicks has said he defaulted on loans behind the Rangers and Stars to force lenders to renegotiate terms of the deals, calling it a "nonevent" for coaches, players, fans and the rest of the operations.

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