‘Exclusive agreement’ offers hope for future of the club

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THE Middle East investment bank bidding to take control of Leeds United has confirmed it has signed an “exclusive agreement” to lead a buyout of the Championship club.

Gulf Finance House yesterday confirmed in a letter to the Bahrain Stock Exchange that they were, through a subsidiary called GFH Capital Limited, leading the purchase of Leeds City Holdings, the football club’s parent company.

The announcement followed weeks of speculation about the involvement of the Bahrain-based company in the on-going bid to take control of United.

Several of the firm’s senior management team have been seen at Elland Road at recent games, but this is the first time GFH have commented publicly.

The statement read: “Further to the news published in the Gulf Daily News on September 25 and 26, 2012, referring to the proposed acquisition of Leeds United Football Club, GFH would like to confirm that GFH Capital Limited, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Gulf Finance House, has signed an agreement to lead and arrange the acquisition of Leeds City Holdings, the parent company of Leeds United.

“According to a recent study released by Deloitte, Leeds United are one of the best-supported clubs in English football with a higher average match-day attendance than most Premier League clubs.

“In addition, Leeds United have 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 renegotiation of broadcasting rights and it is expected from next season each team in the Premier League will receive a minimum of £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.”

GFH’s statement followed United chairman Ken Bates confirming ahead of Saturday’s 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest that the club were in talks with a “banking institution” who have interests in the Gulf.

Bates was joined at the game by GFH chief executive David Haigh along with directors Salem Patel and Hisham Alrayes. Haigh was then again present at Tuesday’s Capital One Cup tie at home to Everton.

Haigh, a United fan, is being tipped in some quarters to take up an executive position at Elland Road if the deal goes through.

Meanwhile, Leeds travel to Bristol City tomorrow with both Paddy Kenny (groin) and Lee Peltier (ankle) rated as doubtful. Jason Pearce is, however, fit despite having 12 stitches in a head wound.