Wednesday, 21 November 2012

GFH Capital Complete Leeds United Takeover

The private equity arm of Middle Eastern investment bank Gulf Finance House has signed a deal to buy Leeds United. GFH Capital said it had financially supported the club since entering an exclusivity period and planned to inject more funds for working capital and to help manager Neil Warnock strengthen the team. Lifelong Leeds fan and GFH deputy CEO David Haigh, pictured, will join the club’s board immediately, while colleagues Hisham Alrayes and Salem Patel will take further seats in December. Although financial terms were not disclosed, previous reports have suggested the deal could be worth about £50m. Leeds United’s current chairman Ken Bates will continue in the role until the end of the season before a GFH Capital-chosen Chairman takes over, with Bates moving to club president. Haigh said, “After a long process of negotiations, spanning Leeds, London, Monaco, Dubai and Bahrain, it gives us great pride today to have completed the deal for Leeds United. “A brief but important transitional period now begins in terms of the changeover of ownership. “We have today injected further funds into the club and now we look to the future and start the exciting journey to take Leeds United FC back into a prime position in English football once again. “From a Leeds family myself and a supporter of The Whites since childhood, I know that football is at the very heart of the people of Leeds and the wider community.” Bates said: “I can confirm we have now completed all the negotiations with GFH Capital. “We have completed the first part of the purchase and they will be taking over 100 per cent of the club. “Meanwhile, there is a transitional period while they get to know more about the club. “I will continue as chairman until the end of the season when I will take over as president and I look forward to sitting back and taking more time off. “Neil Warnock will continue as manager with more support than the present owners have been able to give and we look forward to a smooth transition. “One thing I can say that has benefited from the negotiations is that this six-month courtship has given GFH Capital the opportunity to see the strengths and weaknesses and what needs to be supported. “You can look forward to a smoother transition than we’ve seen at a lot of clubs.”

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