Leeds United’s takeover looks to have hit the rocks today, with the Leeds United Supporters Trust breaking the news that takeover talks have apparently collapsed, and BBC seeming to reveal that Ken Bates has moved the goalposts at the last moment, while the Middle Eastern consortium is willing to complete a deal on the originally agreed terms.
The Official site has just released a statement:
Leeds United (‘The Club’) announces that the exclusivity period granted to a potential investor as mentioned in the statement of 26 June has ended.
The Club remain happy to continue discussions, but not on an exclusive basis, so as not to prevent other options passing.
The first priority must be to ensure that the credibility of any future investor or ultimate owner is such, that the Leeds legacy and its future is in safe hands, back in the Premiership.
The Club will continue to be receptive to approaches from potential new partners who can establish that they have the necessary credentials.
Meanwhile, it is encouraging that there is a new spirit at the club under the management of Neil Warnock and his ten new signings.
This is basically an invitation to any other interested parties to start a bidding war. Fans will surely not be pleased that Bates is trying to make more money out of the sale at a time when the club’s squad is wafer-thin, and while there is a bid from the Middle East consortium that Bates found acceptable enough to apparently agree in principle to, allowing a period of exclusivity for them? Sure, people will say he has no obligation to sell, but we have no obligation not to complain if he screws up our chances and our club.
We have heard that the takeover talks stalled as far back as June 26th, though we don’t know how reliable this is. It would make sense, though, with Robert Snodgrass seemingly happy to see how Warnock’s plans went until last month when something suddenly changed and he wanted to leave. We can say he had his head turned or he’s greedy, but it doesn’t fit with his previous attitude. Either way, don’t take that as gospel.
Both Adam Pope and Phil Hay seem to have contacts who have suggested that the deal was changed at the last minute by Bates, and that the deal is not dead but close to it.
I’m not a legal expert, but I heard if both parties agreed to a deal, one spent on due diligence, and the other pulled out, the one that pulled out would be liable for due diligence costs? In this case, Bates will have loaded the club with yet more debt on the eve of the new season as our squad looks worryingly thin.
Neil Warnock seems to have reacted to the breakdown of talks by putting The Robbie Rogers (dot com) and Danny Pugh up for sale, despite being happy to give Pugh a squad number previously and taking a look at Rogers during pre-season. It’s clear Warnock is now putting players up for sale he might not choose to sell otherwise, because he needs to make money – whether you stay or go seems to be down to whether you can dictate a good fee from buyers. Our team looks to be only 15 men, with 2 he wants to loan out and 2 he wants to sell on the squad-numbers list. This is not a good start to the season.
Shaun Harvey went to Monaco and spoke to Bates, and has returned to Leeds now. It is thought that Harvey is doing all he can to complete a takeover. If the rumours about him are right, then credit where credit’s due.
Meanwhile, L.U.S.T. have released a statement, in it they say:
We were told that in the last few days negotiations between Leeds United and the potential investors were delicately poised, and that yesterday Shaun Harvey flew to Monaco for discussions about the deal. This morning we were informed that the deal for a takeover of the club had collapsed.
As the day has progressed, we have done all we can to get a full picture of the situation at Elland Road. What has become clear to us is that events are moving quickly, and that urgent discussions have been taking place in the light of this deal’s collapse.
Those discussions have resulted in this evening’s statement from Leeds United on their official website, which has confirmed that the period of exclusivity agreed with a potential investor has ended.