Dubai based GFH Capital has agreed a deal for exclusivity as it looks to tie up the purchase of Leeds City Holdings, the parent company of Leeds United. This news coming from the prospective buyers, all but ends a four month saga in which fans were left with very little information.
It will also likely take control of the club away from Ken Bates who bought the club in 2011 but has been in control as Chairman since his original purchase over seven years ago.
In a statement from GFH (GFH Capital’s parent company) to the Bahrain Bourse (stock exchange), the company stated [pdf link]:
According to a recent study released by Deloitte, LUFC is one of the best supported clubs in English Football with a higher average match day attendence than most Premier League teams. In addition, LUFC has a large and passionate fan base and a rich history of success in English Football over the last 40 years.
Football teams in England have recently received a significant revenue boost due to the re-negotiation of broadcasting rights and it is expected that from next season each team in the Premier League will receive a minimum of GBP 60m per season due to the increase in broadcasting rights. LUFC would also benefit from this if it can achieve promotion to the Premier League.
Due to a confidentiality provision, no further details can be given about the commercial terms of the transaction.
Leeds supporter and deputy-CEO of GFH Capital, David Haigh, tweeted fans:
Good morning everyone. Thank you for all your messages of support. They are very important to us. #LUFC
While GFH Capital’s Twitter account stated:
We confirm that we have signed an exclusive agreement to lead & arrange the acquisition of Leeds City Holdings, the parent company of #LUFC
Details beyond this are scarce at the moment, indeed it is not clear whether GFH Capital are the only party in the takeover, or if they are managing another party’s investment into Leeds. However The Telegraph has run a piece lamenting the end of Ken Bates’ 30-year “sideshow” in football, remembering his pioneering plans to construct electric fences at Stamford Bridge, and turn Wembley into “a mini Vegas of hotels and casinos”.
If Ken Bates is indeed intending to leave the club I’m sure we all wish him all the best for the future.