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.

74 Responses

  1. Tim campbell

    Coming directky from the investors this looks nailed on. Interesting part i took from their statement was the urgency to achieve promotion. I therefore anticipate serious money in the transfer market

    • TimPM

      With signings like Rody Austin, Jason Pearce and EH Diouf on a shoestring budget I’m sure Neil Warnock can be trusted with funds!

      Try to woo back Gradel, Neil, that’ll truly cement you and the buyers’ place as legends :-)

      • Tim campbell

        The good news tim is that money, and serious noney cud be forthcoming. They seem to be aware that getting to the premiership is a priority. So warnock should have a lot of room to manouvre

      • TimPM

        Can’t bank on that though, we’ll have to wait and see what their plans are once they’ve got the i’s dotted etc.

        If they were keen on investing a bit to get into the Prem I see Taraabt is having a very limited role at QPR now…!

      • Irving08

        Tim, I think there’s a non-sequitur in there. Warnock may just be one of those Managers who work best on a shoestring. There is evidence to support such a presumption: I know he was late to the market, but his biggish money singings for QPR were notably less successful than those acquired for free or next-to-nothing. Re-signing Gradel would nevertheless be welcome.

      • Chareose

        The answer is that Warnock likes a certain type of player and so providing he sticks to that we will be fine because its obvious he likes players who will bleed for the cause………… If we were to acheive promotion then Warnocks natural tendancy to nest build and show loyalty to his players could become a problem if many are not good enough……
        That said Warnock will know he has a repuation for failing in the top flight and he will want to prove them all wrong…

    • Snowjoke

      NW will presumably have a shopping list but I’d be surprised if it included any stellar names. Fancy Dans would just get skinned alive in this league. The backbone of the team is already more or less there. What’s needed in January is an infusion of hungry, ambitious talent. A brick-by-brick building job to create a squad with proven appetite for a scrap and proven ability to deliver results, week in, week out, for the rest of the season. The Reading way? Whatever it takes. Been a long time coming so earn it and deserve it!

  2. Tim campbell

    The other question is have they offered some sort of role to bates after the takeover

    • TimPM

      Indeed. Though journos tend to get given more information than bloggers and the Telegraph is talking as if Ken Bates has left footy?

  3. hedgehoguk

    The headline is a bit misleading! Nowhere does it sat the takeover is agreed, simply that GFH have signed an exclusive agreement to do it. We dont know if this was signed with the club or the buyers, and so where Bates is still involved, caution is needed.
    It would appear that it’s on the verge of completion though with GFH’s top boys at a few of our games, and their increasing communications with fans on Twitter

  4. Col

    I have nothing but hatred for this scum! hopefully this is the start of the revival of super Leeds!!
    ps. Portsmouth beware! I pity the supporters of the next club Bates sinks his claws into.

    • Mike N.

      Portsmouth are not in any danger from anyone, they’re already in administration so no chance of diddling the taxman, allegedly,

      • Chareose

        Yes you are dreaming,,,,,,…… Captain Birdseye is still merrily sailing HMS Leeds United towards the nearest Iceberg

  5. Lufcbb4

    To be fair to bates and this is my only praise for the devil! He has made us an attractive takeover proposition! 5m profits annually not a lot of teams can say that!!

    Now if that was invested in the team we may have been a very different team last year

  6. oldschoolbaby

    The most important part of this equation was never getting rid of bates. It was finding an owner with the best interests of the club at heart who the fans could warm to. From what they`re saying GFH seem to view Leeds as an investment from which to make money. I`m reserving judgement on them.
    Furthermore there are only so many motivations that drive human males and there`s no sex in this sorry saga. NW is developing a band of brothers who play and fight for each other. Throwing cash into that scenario has the potential to cause untold problems
    In the modern era if the reports are true and Leeds are being bought as a debt frre concern then we do have something to thank the old bastard for.
    Finally, I would have a hefty bet that Bates goes into hospital shortly. It wouldn`t surprise me at all if ill health was the real reason he is selling his plaything

    • Irving08

      Our instincts run in the same direction OS. I too sensed a perceptible rubbing of hands at the thought of that 60 million. And I too have always thought that securing owners who identify with or, at any rate understand our reasonable aspirations, took precedence over an anti-Bates agenda. Your point about potential disturbance to the developing camaraderie is a good one too. It will be a big challenge to Warnock as well. One senses that he is happiest doing what he does best – picking up up players for modest sums to whom he can add footballing value and moulding them into a cohesive unit. Call it making a virtue out of necessity, if you like, but then how else is virtue acquired ?

      • Chareose

        Some of those “comrades” will be banking on the extra investment becoming a reality…… The likes of Pearce will have signed 4 year contracts hoping for a shot at the premiership…… EHD will be hoping for a contract that at the very least makes him a higher earner than Dorris the Leeds United Laundry Lady…… The prospect of better players coming could well be a motivator for the current first team to perform and fight for their places…….
        Overall the comradeship you meantion has been partially caused by Warnocks own protectiveness and patronization of his players, already Diouf is now called “Dioufy” along with Sheffeild United old boys Tongy and Browny…………Kenny was actually christened “Kenn” but since changed his name to Kenny to suit Warnock….. The fact that these players were as keen as Warnock to renew old aquaintances and rejoin him says a lot about ur managers character

    • Snowjoke

      You’re right about the need to maintain the Band of Brothers mentality within the present squad. This will have been cultivated deliberately by Warnock to compensate for the very ordinary quality of certain players. But that was in harder times and other adversity. To keep those individuals performing above their true ability after money has been promised for new (and better) players in the January transfer window is going to require an altogether higher level of man management and motivational magic on Warnock’s part. But it’s critically important. After all, mounting a promotion charge from “there or thereabouts” must be easier than trying to do it from below half way and (say) 15 points adrift. Over to you, Gaffer……

      • oldschoolbaby

        I have a partial solution to the problem of better players on bigger contracts upsetting the apple cart. I suspect most of the penis envy at professional football clubs originates in the training ground car park where there is an ongoing competition to turn up in the flashiest, most expensive car. Footballers should be picked up and dropped off by an old bloke in a modest mini bus.
        Not sure there is a higher level of motivational magic than bestowiing a winning formula on the mediocre. Motivating the gifted often revolves around instilling a degree of fear. Of course, within reason, fear can be healthy
        Last thought. Whilst an extra row of corporate boxes were a ridiculous idea when the club was owned by a PR no hoper. With the club owned by an Arab bank / investment consortioum their potential to do the club a world of good suddenly seems unlimited.

      • Snowjoke

        OSB. Like the idea of players being ferried around in a modest mini bus and, if you’re an old bloke with such a vehicle, the job’s yours

      • oldschoolbaby

        Conceding that I can get hold of a mini bus is not the same as admitting that I`m old
        And I reckon I can think as radically as I like. it`s not like I will be deported any time soon !!.

  7. Tyler75

    This is turning out to be a very good week indeed in the history of our famous club !
    While working in Bahrain I had dealings with GFH and like most of the non-Iranian financial institutions in Bahrain, they have significant business dealings with (and financing from) Saudi Arabia and chances are that is where the money is coming from to buy Leeds.

  8. mrbigwheels

    And suddenly a light appeared, bursting through the murky haze of the cool dawn.
    An object standing boldly, eclipsing the piercing brightness that sears our eyes.
    Is it a bird?, is it a plane? is it a saviour from the planet feutios?.
    Is this the God that will rid our house of the evil, heinous and punitive endurance?.
    We shake and embrace with a hopeful excitement that this indeed…. is our saviour.
    Don is, I’m sure… watching over.

  9. Yorker

    Fantastic News. It definately looks like we will have owners who have real investment who can take this club forward. As we all know Leeds United already have the best fans in the world And the best manager in the Championship. A good match !! Marching on Together.

  10. Si from London

    Like a Phoenix from the Ashes, the majestic whites will truley soar again! I wish Ken Bates well in all honesty and a welcome end to all this protracted takeover saga!!!

  11. Sunnyleeds

    I am interpreting rightly the phrase “to lead & arrange the
    acquisition of Leeds City Holdings” this
    could take some time before we are out of the woods.
    Warnock needs more bodies, and a way how to short circuit any delays
    in bringing in more players should be found. Get Gradel on loan from
    next week. I also like the idea of bringing in Taraabt
    and Beckford. The three have links with the club or Warnock. We have to keep the pressure on to see the end of all this long saga.

    • Si from London

      taking Beckford back on loan as an interim measure may be ok but I think he’s gonna need to prove himself more long term now that we should have money to buy better quality. I’d say give him a chance though and I think we owe him that particular after he scored in that famous win against Man U in FA Cup

      • Bubionwhite

        Si, Leeds United owe Jermaine Beckford nothing … the club took him from non-league obscurity, nurtured and coached him into being a far better player than when he arrived, paid him well for the priviledge, relative, and he in turn, did his job … scored some important goals, and missed some others. If memory serves me right, he then decided that the grass was greener elsewhere as was his right. For those who believe the club will be awash with money, there are other players out there who will fit Neil Warnock’s team philosophy much better.

      • Old Goat

        Yep, memorable goal but if he’d had a decent first touch and the ball hadn’t run away from him as it did he’d never have scored it – they’d have shut him down.
        Beckford scored a lot of goals but he also spent a lot of time sulking and contributing little. Grayson indulged him to compensate for a dodgy defence but not sure NW would be so charitable.

  12. nicklufc

    I really like the fact that these guys from Dubai have only attended 2 games that we know of this season and we won them both!!!! Even if this whole thing falls flat, lets keep inviting them :)

    • Tyler75

      Apparently some of them were at the Everton game as well – so that’s 3 out of 3 !

  13. RoystonLUFC

    I can’t wait to wave to Howson, Snodgrass and Johnson as we get promoted and they are heading back to Beckford land. By the way, one of the clinching points of this deal was the lack of debt associated with the club; in fact, we turned a 4 million profit last year. Say what you like about uncle Ken but he’s turned a near 100 milion debt into 4 million profit in a relatively short space of time. Consequently, we’re now about to get the funding we deserve. So good riddance, Ken, but thanks for paving the way.

  14. Ross Johnson

    My 1st match was in 1957 against Portsmouth. Big John scored 2 in a 5-2 victory.My last match was the shameful debacle at Cardiff against Watford, when Master Bates told Talksport that he expected Chelsea to win the game !
    It seems that I will be able to start going to Elland Road again at last.

  15. Irving08

    A qualified cheer is in order. The growth-oriented and hitherto loss-making equity arm of a Bahraini-based financial house would not be my preferred choice of owner. Yet we must hope that, if the deal does go through, matters will be structured in such a way as to prevent Leeds United Holdings becoming a ‘cash cow’ for other parts of the business. Any experts in Islamic finance put there ?

    • Tyler75

      Their investment arm are ‘facilitating’ the takeover – the money will probably be coming from elsewhere i.e. ‘ a managed investment’ – form what I know, this will more than likely be Saudi money; either a wealthy individual /group of individuals or a Saudi corporate entity. As the pot of gold at the end of the West Yorkshire rainbow is the Premier League TV money, giving NW the resources to do the job will be a key part of their business plan. In reality how much is this likely to cost (wages and transfer fees) £5m ? certainly less than £10m – NW is hardly renowned for flashing the cash. Plus there is likely to be a significant increase in match day income to the end of the season – any takers on 30k plus for both Barnsley and Birmingham ?

      • mrbigwheels

        ‘The American influence’ is strong with me Tyler. He was at the Hull game, met Warnock and asked the relevant questions. It was the following morning that NW looked brighter and then announced on the thursday… ”expect some better news in ten days, about a fortnight”… that’s sort of like NOW.
        I’m seeing GFH as managing another party’s investment into Leeds with Bates not far away.
        I’ll take 23- 25k at the moment until Bates does a wheely!. But hey some may think he’s already going and can’t resist being part of the new dawn?….

      • Chareose

        I think people are getting carried away, its not signed and sealed so i think its a bit soon to be discussing 30k attendances

      • mrbigwheels

        You’re dead right and I personally believe what we are hearing today will only be a shell of the true finished article. At the end of today… what have we got other than a committment from one party with very little cash, (at least a committment) and an expansion of the confusion, mistrust and speculation that previously existed. Not being a killjoy here but these guys are fronting for Bates and for all we know…. still haven’t got the serious money men up to the ‘buy it now’ counter yet.. Phil Hay is not convinced either. (quote his Talksport interview)…Whatever Bates says… Hay isn’t going to lie to us…………….

  16. Matthew

    Our final 23 games of the season are going to be warm and fuzzy. For those who don’t know when they start, they start from Christmas onwards. Warnock will no doubt be preparing his signings for when the window opens in Jan and lots of good tidings will be had.
    On a more serious note. It’l be nice to see the back of Ken Bates. No excuses for what he’s done, he’s a vile man who has crippled this clubs progress, when he finally sells up, we can actually progress in this league for once.

  17. mrbigwheels

    David Conn today in The Guardian… Bates and his vitriol. A further court case with Levi.
    FA charges put on hold against The Club and Bates for bringing the game into disrepute.
    Sorry no link but source is Newsnow… 14.43.

  18. mrbigwheels

    And now ITV News 16.00 says…”deal might not be imminent”, after breaking first this morning with ”deal done”….. football expert interview.

  19. Chareose

    The Club hasnt confirmed it and how much of the shareholding does ” Leeds City Holdings” have ?? Someone suggested only 27% ??
    I wont quite beleive this until the club has stated its true….

      • kalich

        because in the end of the day Bates holds the cards , call me crazy but I reckon the old bastard always has an ace up his sleeve , nevertheless I do share your concern that that Bates remains on board …

      • TimPM

        No that’s wrong. LCH owns 100pc of LUFC, but LCH’s ownership is split, with 5 companies owning 27pc and Outro owning the rest.
        A full purchase of LCH would grant 100pc ownership of LUFC.

        Google ‘beaten generation who owns leeds united’

      • Kalich

        what a fookin mess im sure by design nevertheless , thanks for the clarification

  20. Matthew

    By the way. George Boyd, a Warnock target last transfer window rejected a move to Ipswich and is still at Peterborough with his contract set the run out at the end of the season. Pretty sure Warnock will be in for him.

      • Matthew

        No, to have another decent Winger at the club. Most people would agree that Varney doesn’t cut it.

      • Irving08

        Yes, but Boyd is not noted for his tracking back while Diouf, obviously, is not cut out for such mundane work:Tongue, judging by his performances on Saturday and Tuesday, is happy to do anything to resurrect his career. Varney is not a first teamer – there I agree. Yet I still have Boyd as a sub, albeit one I’d be happy to have. Would he come for that, though ?

      • TimPM

        I know Tonge got a little bit of criticism from some when he first arrived but I think that was possibly a case of making up your mind without giving him a fair run. Looks to fit in well with me though I’d prefer he looked for the pass than shot? ——————

      • Irving08

        I had never never seen Tongue play before he came, so I watch him with an open mind.. I agree – he has fiited in well.has fitted in well though. I shall watch out for his pass/shot ratio, now you have drawn our attention to it. Tuesday’s side had a good balance to it: I would only change it if the opposition requires it. There would have to be a good reason to change the Byram/White combination.

  21. Will23

    There is not enough detail to say this is a takeover buyout of Bates which will mean Bates is no longer involved with our club. Maybe at 80+ years of age the end is nigh for him…in a football capacity I mean…and he has had enough. He does not need the money at that age however, so I would not be surprised to see the demented one still hanging around like the worst smell imaginable. He knows his stuff unlike the Islamists.

    Hmmm, not sure what I’d prefer as owner of our club?

    An Islamist investment bank or Bates?

    • TimPM

      Not sure about that, doesn’t it say somewhere they’re facilitating the purchase of Leeds City Holdings? That would give them 100pc ownership of LUFC surely?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.