It has been revealed today that Ken Bates is the owner of Leeds United Football Club.

The news follows speculation in the media about the ownership of the club and its compliance with Football League and FA regulations. The revised details of the club’s ownership have been submitted to the FA, the Football League and the Premier League. The ownership structure has been confirmed to be in compliance with regulations by the Football League and Premier League while there are no anticipated problems for securing approval from the FA.

Until now the ownership of Leeds United could be traced as far as FSF Limited, a company incorporated in Nevis and comprised of three unknown trustees. According to the club, who claim to have never had any doubt over the legitimacy of the ownership, FSF Limited is now owned by Outro Limited which is wholly owned by Ken Bates, chairman of the club. The fee paid is undisclosed.

This means that Ken Bates is the controlling shareholder of Leeds United Football Club.

The club issued the following statement:

Leeds United Football Club Limited (‘LUFC’) the company that holds the share in the Football League, is a member of the West Riding County Football Association and an Associate Member of the Football Association.

LUFC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leeds City Holdings Limited (‘LCH’).

LCH has five unconnected shareholders, four of these hold 27.15% collectively with no one of these holding more than 10% of the issued shares.

FSF Limited (a company incorporated in Nevis) holds 102,000,000 or 72.85% of the issued shares.

On the 26th April 2011, FSF Limited was acquired by Outro Limited.

Outro Limited is wholly owned by Mr K W Bates and is registered in Nevis, West Indies.

On this basis, Mr K W Bates is deemed to be the controlling shareholder of LUFC.

May 3 2011

The Chairman and board must have felt under sufficient pressure to initiate this move and disclose the club’s ownership. It had been suggested numerous times that Ken Bates may have originally owned the club, the legality of which some questioned following the move into administration.

From the perspective of fans, it realises the fears of many. However, perhaps it is a case of better the devil you know. At least now we know the owner of the club, whereas the three trustees of FSF Limited remain as shadowy as they ever did. This may though end any hopes for significant investment in the playing squad considering Bates’ reputation.

While attempting to make the ownership more transparent it simultaneously throws up a number of questions about the previous ownership and the new deal. Although Bates claims he never owned the club, it may be the case that Bates was one of the original shareholders as part of FSF Limited and he, through Outro Limited, has acquired the remaining shares. As far as I am aware this would be perfectly legal.

The implications of this move are yet to be known and the timing does seem strange. For now it seems we will have to wait for our numerous questions to be answered.

38 Responses

  1. Paddy1992

    I for one am just pleased that all this is sorted out and at least we know that the Leeds hating guardian and other newspapers will no longer be campaigning for us to be docked points or refused entry to the premiership. Now us fans must cease the bates hating until at least the end of august. Then if there is no investment AND the team is not performing start singing the Chelsea song and bates out but until that happens let’s have a bit of unity and get behind him Grayson and the lads and see where that takes us.

  2. CJ

    Bates owns Leeds United?! Surely not!!!
    Didn’t expect that…
    I wonder who owns Elland Road….? (Ahem!)

  3. henryv

    Ah Ken.
    As smooth as a gravy sandwich!
    That beats all I ever held, smelt, felt,
    slept with, or stepped in!
    As useful as air brakes on a tortoise!
    He was raised on wildcat milk and weaned on vinegar!
    Show me the money!!!!!

  4. Altrinchamandrew

    Timing weird…..tidy up exercise before he sells Leeds United? Was also surprised at how Ken said we’d had a good season ( relegation form since Xmas) . Probably totally wrong but to me looks like someone putting everything in order before selling!
    Just heard multi billionaire flown in to Leeds Bradford Airport with Martin Oneill , messi and Becks”………..

  5. steve underwood

    Well said paddy1992 i for one hope we can now build on this season ready for next one.i hope we can unite behind the team and bates i can hope but it wont happen

  6. steve underwood

    I see robbie savage has said on twitter he would love to play one more season but only for leeds well i think he could do a job for us ,against qpr he was outstanding put him alongside howson would be great

  7. number1inyorkshire

    good glad he owns it ,I once told bates face to face looking straight in his eyes “leeds fans have a fantastic record of getting rid of chairman ” he laughed as he would .
    let the battle begin ,no more anynimity ,some one to blame at last , and my will the leeds fans blame him .

    we all knew this would happen ,and everyone connected the powers that be that is let him .

    as for elland road we all should try and buy it as fans and barr him .

    this is the worst news ever for me .i was having a good week ,loads of bank holidays ,sunshine ,royal wedding .bin wots his face, brown bread ,and old ken has to trump them all with this what a ,see ,you ,hen ,tea

  8. CJ

    So “Lilly” Savage says he would love to play for Leeds? I bet he would!!!
    Love him or hate him (let’s be honest, most hate him), the facts are, at 36, he is way too old.
    Mind you, if Mr.Beckham wants to offer his services then that would be different.

  9. number1inyorkshire

    just a word on Robbie savage ,take him fore a season .he can wind people up for fun ,but love or loathe him he would be fantastic .we have had worse.

  10. steve underwood

    Savage is only 36 he looked fit against QPR beckam same age gigs is 37 still playing think he could do a job beside howson sitting in front of back 4

    • number1inyorkshire

      i like savage would have him at leeds,. only thing would be his media stuff .36 is nothing (here speaks some one in his 40s).get him to speak to at least .to be fair we could just do with someone like that .

  11. Pete

    I’d take Robbie Savage tomorrow! He is like Batty in his drive, passion and ferocious tackling. He’s exactly what we need and what we missed this season.


  12. Colin

    Leeds have a new owner? Good news!! Let’s hope the new owner spends more than the old one – he was a tightwad.

    Oh, hold on a cotton picking minute :)

  13. trueyorxman

    I wouldn’t mind Savage, but would much prefer Bullard who’s just been voted ‘Tractor Boys’ Player of the season, having scored 5 goals in 16 games, whilst on loan! If he’s willing to sign for Ipswich surely he’d come to us

  14. Mightywhite

    Maybe it has something to do with the qpr hearing this week…does bates know summat we don’t??

    Let’s be realistic here tho nothing is gonna change… We all knew he owned us, eland road and Thorpe arch so this comes as no surprise only difference is we now 100% know where all the money is going now in bates bank account!!

  15. Tim Wilsom

    Must admit Mighty I did don my tin foil hat a while ago and had the same thought.. Maybe Kens just a hopeless optimist

  16. Camaac

    That’s weird. A mate of mine down the pub told me the other week that we were owned by some recluse in Northern Pakistan. The only way Ken Bates could contact him was via some sat nav device he’d sent him. Then apparently the recluse was killed by a seal and Ken was the sole beneficiary in his will. I mean, as if you get seals in Northern Pakistan!

  17. Loki

    An interesting read on The Guardian’s website:

    I find this all very odd, he must be breaking laws here. It’s abundantly obvious to me (a moron) that he previously owned the club prior to administration then under a very thinly veiled disguise bought it back following Administration, only to then pretend he hadn’t bought it and then ended up buying it?! He’s clearly trying to jump through loop holes somewhere along the line, but he’s doing it in a hell of a clumsy fashion.

    As the article says, suppose FSF in the West Indies were genuinely a separate entity why would they sell up now? Especially after buying the club in league 1, investing (ish) in the squad and the stadium only to sell up when we’re as close as we’ve been for years on a return to the Premiership. It makes no sense, the only logical explanation is that Ken’s owned it all along.

    Revelation, I know.

    • number1inyorkshire

      David Conn ,and there are people who say he is trying to bring leeds down ,has done a fantastic job for me .His article is fantastic again ,where did bates get his money from when he wanted to buy Thorpe arch he applied for a loan .This will all turn out badly for leeds one day as you say we will or bates will be found to have broken laws .

      For me looking in and with a friend who lost over £30.000 when leeds went into admin ,clearly bates is and has lied in court but continues to get away with it .That will end one day lets hope we don,t get thrown out or sent to bottom of league 2 .

  18. Gryff

    I agree with you Loki but also agree with Paddy1992 “am just pleased that all this is sorted out”

    The lack of logic meant I’m another who donned a tin-foil hat but QPR a 20-point deduction? Given Luton’s paying agents through a 3rd party = 10 point deduction, I suppose signing a player through a 3rd party is worse. And the player gave QPR a decisive boost throughout the season…

    Only other explanation I can think of is that Bates’ associates were worried about the “scaremongering” at the FA.

    Either way, welcome our “new” leader :D

    … Now all we need is to buy back ER and the conspiracy theorists will be put to bed…

  19. oldlufc

    Well, well – what a SURPRISE – KB ‘now’ owns Leeds Utd. Did many of us really believe that he did not know the beneficiary owners and that he worked for nothing – yeah right!! As for the ownership/buy-back of ER and TA, KB’s No1 priority, it is not surprising that KB deliberately derailed the talks with Leeds City Council regarding a loan, how can you buy back something you already own? Why would you be spending £7M on the Upper East Stand redevelopment when you only rent the stadium?
    What has prompted him to buy-out the ‘mysterious’ people who all owned allegedly owned less than 10% and therefore did not need to be identified? Could it be that the ‘hawks’ were getting too close to unearthing the truth? Is it a move made with a view to selling up in the near future? So what are the chances on new investors, another KB priority, coming on board? Ask yourself, would you do business with this crowd? Time will tell, in the meantime I think you can almost certainly guarantee that certain people will be delving into this mess, not least the creditors, even HRMC of course, who lost out when KB bought Leeds back out of administration. However, don’t expect the football authorities to ask too many questions as this affair could well prove as embarrassing for them as it could for Bates and friends.

    I just hope the legal team who have been advising KB on this are not the same team who advised on the -15 points appeal.

    I can’t help but believe that this messy, sordid affair will bounce back on Leeds Utd big style.

  20. Tyler 75

    I’m keeping everything crossed that this is a precursor to him selling up !

  21. Mike Johnson

    This development begs as many questions as it answers…but of course! KB is at the centre of it all!!
    For several weeks, I’ve been wondering whether Ken would prefer us/has planned for us to spend a few more years in the Championship (hence the lack of Jan signings), because due to admin etc, we are due to pay £5million if promoted back to the Prem in next couple of years, ?
    Also intrigued by the timing: IF,IF,IF the miracle of nicking a play off comes about, and the litiginous old bugger led the field in “suing” QPR, and pulled it off, LUFC would need to be cleaner than clean to counter a counter legal action from QPR…as another poster here said, does Ken have an insight/inside info into the likely sanctions?
    And totally confused why we’re improving at vast cost a ground we don’t own …a lick of paint is all I give to my landlord’s flat.KB MUST own it…surely?
    (also just to say, I admire David Conn’s persistence. It’s not anti-leeds. He strips the secrecy away on other “dodgy” clubs too).
    Hate all this around Leeds Utd, after a pretty decent season, with as many highs as lows.Yeah, very dissapointed we’re not safe in the play-offs,but it’s mainly been a great 9 months. And who knows…? Ain’t quite over yet. MOT forever

  22. henryv

    I think there is no doubt that Ken would have been hoping for promotion this season.
    The rewards in all areas outweigh the £5 million due, many times over.
    He would have been able to clear the debt with Sky money!
    He knows you cannot pick and choose when you get promoted.
    It is hard to believe that these tough and secret business men would sell to Ken, instead of putting the club on the open market, unless it is Ken selling to Ken!
    The ‘smoke and mirrors’ of the takeover, and all the dodginess that surround it left Ken waiting his opportunity.
    How could he show his hand as smoothly as possible?
    Then along came the Football authorities, ‘forcing’ Ken to buy the club to remove any cloud from the Leeds United.
    They broke the mould with Ken!!!
    So nothing has changed and we are all excited about next season!!
    Onward and upward!

  23. Tim Wilsom

    And in honor of this development a recent quote on one of his own, albeit a loanee..LOL

    On McCartney….
    As far as I can see, looking at the fixture list, as far as I know, he has only played twice in the last six games.

    “So I don’t think fatigue can contribute to his contribution, which I haven’t been particularly impressed with.”

    Bates added: “As I understand it, he has been fined more than once for turning up late in training.

    “So perhaps if he turned up on time and showed a bit more commitment then he wouldn’t feel quite so tired.

    • Matt BB

      McCartney is as gobby as bates – look at his `international retirement’… that was very unprofessional of him to slate Nigel Worthington.

      He has obviously kicked his last ball for Leeds, and I dont think Sunderland are too bothered about retaining his services.

      Now – what about some trasnfer rumours!! I read Andy Johnson from Fulham is a possible, and Nick Montgomery

  24. henryv

    Nice one Tim.
    And he could have added:-

    “I don’t know why Simon brought him to MY CLUB!
    Maybe I should pick the team next year!”

  25. Will23

    New owner eh?

    I wonder what price the new owners accepted for a club with zero physical assets, perhaps other than a fancy tent for conferences, and other than some dodgy valued player “assets”.

    I mean what price would you accept if you were one of the secret three?

    I can only opine (i.e. not wishing to confuse opinion as fact) that Bates has emptied a few of his trouser pockets of his loose change.

    Meanwhile, looking behind the corporate/offshore veil, who does “really” own those off-balance sheet physical assets, especially Thorp Arch which (very) conveniently some may say, I personally disagree, could not be bought by the club and so will be sold by its own secret owners for development value?

    Is LUFC being positioned for a quick summer sale before Grayson ruins the price next season?

    Meanwhile, who will benefit from a sale of Thorp Arch and the buy back of the ground by the new owners? We can only hope the Guardian continue their investigation as you cannot rely on the pussy footed YEP.

  26. Matt BB

    Has anyone read David Conn’s article in the Guardian this morning? Very interesting indeed as always, and someone who Bates refers to as an `international enemy’ of the club..

    He makes interesting points not ust about Leeds but also Bradford City’s administration debacles where people like Danny Mills were settled out at £216K (ie in full) whilst the debts of the St John Ambulance got wiped and they received £165 for their £9k debt. It illustrates to me just how inequitous football is as a business,

    This may be very trivial but does anyone else think the name of the business he bought it with – Outro – is prophetic? inasmuch as it menas to End, or the final part of a music piece? Is he finally going! Will we get someone with real wadge to spend!

  27. Tyler75

    Matt BB – I see we are inevitably being linked with Nick Montgomery again; personally I’d rather have Keith Southern or ideally Neil Danns from Palace as the solid midfielder we desperately need. McCartney’s been next to useless since he arrived and Bates is spot on in his assement, he’s only in the team by default because Parker is permanently injured and Bessone is even more useless. Bradley to left-back for Saturday.

  28. Matt BB

    I think Keith Southern is a good bet – unless Blackpool are relegated, Neil Danns seems a bit of an attacking player, though unlike our attacking players he can pass to his fellow midfielders without either surging forward and shooting at row z, or running and running to the corner flag to be tackled. So he might be an option..

    I keep seeing these headlines about Ken Bates `Attacking’ a Leeds United Defender – well why not anyone else who has in the last 6 months has had a good chance of getting round them and scoring… wah wah wah.


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