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Money talks: Gulf firm to organise Leeds United purchase

The takeover move, announced to the Bahrain and Kuwaiti stock exchanges this morning, is believed to be worth £50m.

Image: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire/Press Association Images

LEEDS UNITED ARE in line to become the latest football club to have Gulf backing, after Bahrain-based investors announced plans on Thursday to acquire control of the Championship team.

Gulf Finance House said in a statement posted on the Bahrain and Kuwaiti stock exchanges that its subsidiary GFH Capital Limited had signed an exclusive agreement to lead and arrange the acquisition of the Elland Road club.

“Due to a confidentiality provision, no further details can be given about the commercial terms of the transaction,” GFH added in the statement.

A sports industry source in Bahrain however told AFP that the value of the deal was £50 million.

Although currently in the second tier of English football, Leeds have a proud history in the top flight and a huge fan base.

There was no immediate comment on the announcement by the club but the chairman of the Leeds United Supporters Trust, Gary Cooper, described the development as “great news”.

“The Trust has been calling for the potential buyer and the club to say something and this is what we’ve all been waiting to hear,” he was quoted as saying on the Yorkshire Post website.

Leeds chairman Ken Bates, under fire from fans for a perceived lack of investment, revealed earlier this year that talks for a potential new owner were on and Cooper said he hoped any new owners would share supporters’ ambitions for the famous club.

“We’re hoping for investment in the team and for Leeds United to be glorious again,” he added.

The newspaper said that members of GFH’s senior management team attended a Leeds match against Wolverhampton Wanderers last month and were also at the last league game against Nottingham Forest as well as Tuesday’s league cup win over Everton.

The potential acquisition comes against a backdrop of massive financial investment in football clubs by Gulf-based institutions, most notably at English Premier League champions Manchester City and French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

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