independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Leeds fans back takeover by Middle-East bank

THE Leeds United Supporters Trust has welcomed news that a Middle-Eastern investment bank has confirmed it is leading a takeover of the club.

Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House (GFH) confirmed this morning in a letter to the Bahrain Stock Exchange that one of its subsidiaries, GFH Capital, had signed an exclusive agreement to buy the club's parent company, Leeds City Holdings.

Leeds revealed in June that they had started negotiations with potential investors, but only last weekend did chairman Ken Bates end three months of silence to confirm talks were at an advanced stage.

And GFH shed further light today when the released the letter, which read: "Further to the news published in the Gulf Daily News on the 25th and 26th Sep 2012, referring to the proposed acquisition of Leeds United Football Club (LUFC), GFH would like to confirm that GFH Capital Limited, a 100pc subsidiary of Gulf Finance House, has signed an exclusive agreement to lead and arrange the acquisition of Leeds City Holdings, the parent company of LUFC.

"Due to a confidentially provision, no further details can be given about the commercial terms of the transaction."

And, having lobbied for change on behalf of the Trust since its formation, LUST chairman Gary Cooper expressed his delight at the latest development.

He said: "This is great news. The Trust has been calling for the potential buyer and the club to say something and this is what we've all been waiting to hear.

"It's been a long, long summer for Leeds fans who have heard very little. We knew these talks were going on and with neither side willing to say anything it's been frustrating.

"So we're really pleased GFH have finally come out and said something. It appears now that this deal is close to being completed.

"We always understood that this was going to be a takeover and we all hope now that the new owners share our ambitions for the club.

"We're hoping for investment in the team and for Leeds United to be glorious again.

"These people are first and foremost businessmen, hopefully sharing our vision, but expecting a return on their investment and the Premier League offers vast riches if the club can get it right on and off the field."

Leeds would make no comment this morning but David Haigh, deputy chief executive officer and chief operating officer of GFH Capital, who is thought to be the frontman of the takeover, wrote on his Twitter account: "Good morning everyone. Thank you for all your messages of support. They are very important to us. #LUFC"

Any takeover of the club would end Bates’ seven-year reign which has been dogged by supporter unrest.

Fans have regularly protested against a perceived lack of investment by the 80-year-old former Chelsea chairman.

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