Leeds United Supporters Trust have confirmed that there is ‘firm’ interest in buying the club on their blog, while the club has released an official announcement admitting talks over ‘long-term investment’. Talks are believed to have taken place between Leeds’ current owners and a group who visited Elland Road last week. Look North has revealed the Chicago-based group is at an advanced stage of negotiations and is ahead at least two other interested parties.
L.U.S.T revealed on Monday evening:
In February we responded to Ken Bates’ suggestion that we “put our money where our mouth is,” by asking any potential investors, who shared the aims and ambitions of our members and of our Vision Statement, to contact the Trust with a view to working together to take Mr Bates up on his offer. We developed a presentation so interested parties could see how working with L.U.S.T. could help them, and have been in contact with a number of people to explore ways of bringing about change for the better at Elland Road. As part of this ongoing work, we have spoken to two groups who are interested in buying Leeds United. At this stage it is not possible for us to go into details about our conversations with these groups, as with a firm offer on the table we would not want to jeopardise any current negotiations.
They broke the news first on Twitter:
The Trust can confirm that there is a firm interest in buying #LUFC. As soon as we have updates we will let our members know #twitterwhites
We are aware that there is a bid on the table. At the moment in time we cannot say anything further. #lufc #twitterwhites #TOMA
We can also confirm that we have held talks with two interested parties #lufc #twitterwhites #TOMA
Phil Hay of the Yorkshire Evening Post also tweeted his understanding of the situation:
Re tweets about investment/takeovers at #lufc – I’m aware of firm interest but still trying to establish full details
Been told of two separate parties who are interested in #lufc, one seems to be much further down the line than the other.
Has to be said that at this stage I’ve no idea how likely either is to come to anything. Seen so many takeover rumours in the past few years
So three days after the first rumours started, we have some confirmation that there is serious interest in the club. Let’s just remember there’s a difference between an offer and a successful takeover.
Update – Tuesday morning the YorkshirePost have been digging for more information.
Phil Hay tweeted:
It looks like there’s one dog in this fight. The second group I spoke of say they are “some distance away” from finalising a bid for #lufc
While Richard Sutcliffe tweeted:
All those q’s re takeover, sorry no reply but been digging. talks def on, incl with nth american gp (but def not maple leaf owners) #lufc
Update – Leeds United have released an official statement:
Further to media reports on Tuesday morning, the club can confirm that talks are taking place regarding investment for the long-term future.
The club has always publicly stated that it would welcome potential investment, but has maintained a belief whereby the quality of the investor is the most important factor in terms of the long-term development of Leeds United.
No further comment will be made at this stage.
It might be worth remembering that Roman Abramovich was supposed to be a major investor with Ken Bates staying on, before the two fell out. Madejski has only sold 51% of Reading which means neither was a “full” takeover. All other sources seem to point towards the interest being very real, and being takeover based. As the statement says, the club is looking for a ‘long term’ investor – perhaps a hint towards a minor shareholder now, with the agreement to purchase a majority holding later?
Update – After the Official Statement, the story has been picked up by Sky Sports News who say they believe this is a takeover and that there were talks held in Leeds last week over this deal.
Update – The Trust have just tweeted:
The groups that we have spoken to wish to acquire the club.
Update – Nothing earth-shattering, but BBC News have published the story with some quotes from LUST:
LUST would like to stress to all of the parties interested in buying Leeds United that building a good relationship with the supporters must be one of their first priorities.
Update – Probably nothing, but @MLSEPR (the PR dept for Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment Ltd) has announced they will have a ‘soccer announcement’ at 11:30am Toronto time (that’s 16:30 for Brits). Probably nothing, but then after a couple of days rejecting the idea that they were ready to takeover Leeds United the Leafs responded to Adam Pope of BBC 5Live with:
#lufc “At this time we can not comment on the business transactions taking place within the TFC. Thanks for your understanding.”
MLSE were strongly rumoured to be interested in Nottingham Forest recently, and were also strongly rumoured to be interested in purchasing Leeds a while back.
Update – I bet MLSE are loving the free publicity! They’ve just tweeted, probably for the last time on this:
We love the enthusiasm of
#LUFC Fans! However to repeat our response from last week – there is no truth to the rumours. #leedsunited
Update – BBC Look North have revealed that the current favourites to takeover the club are based in Chicago, while an interview with LUST’s Lee Hicken has reinforced that the groups the Supporters Trust have talked to are interested in a full takeover.
Update – Rumours flying around about who the mystery Chicagoan(s) are including Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey. A more realistic guess was Club 9 Sports who were looking at Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday. One of Club 9′s partners is based in Chicago. But Matthew Reeder tweeted:
#lufc. Understand a Chicago-based group is leading the way but Club9Sports have told us it is not them.
Chris Stratford of the YP tweeted us saying:
@TSSLUFC Jon Pritchett, chief executive of Chicago-based Club 9 Sports, said ‘no discussions whatsoever’ between his company and Leeds. YP