THE owners of Leeds United last night revealed a recent bid for a controlling stake in the Championship club has been rejected.
Leeds were taken over in December by Bahrain-based GFH Capital in a deal reported at the time to be worth around £52m.
With GFH – and United – director Salem Patel making it clear at the time that the bank would be seeking investors, registers of interest quickly followed from a number of parties.
The Yorkshire Post understands these potential bidders are based both here and abroad, with at least one significant enquiry emanating from the Middle East.
A spokesman for GFH said last night: “We are aware of the growing speculation regarding new investment at Leeds United.
“As can be expected at a club as fantastic as Leeds United, since our acquisition we have received several offers to invest in the club alongside us.
“The most recent offer was for a majority stake and has not been accepted. Although we continue to seek strategic investors, we will only bring on board those who we feel can make a positive contribution to the sustainable success of Leeds United.”
It is not clear which of the interested parties recently had an offer to buy a majority shareholding turned down, but GFH have insisted from the very start that they are amenable to investment, as director Patel made clear to this newspaper in an exclusive interview published on December 22.
Asked less than 24 hours after completing the buyout of Ken Bates’s shareholding if the original plan when GFH first opened talks with Leeds officials back in the summer had been to flip – or quickly re-sell at a profit – the club within months, Patel said: “The way our business model works, it is not about flipping or long-term/short-term.
“The way we typically work would be to identify a project, then we would bring strategic investors with us. If people want to call that flipping, then it is flipping.
“But to us it is not flipping. It is identifying an asset and then bringing the right people on board – whether that is management or shareholders or investors – to help try and build that asset to take it to the next level.
“We will not be selling 100 per cent, we will be maintaining a shareholding in this club.”
Meanwhile, United manager Neil Warnock conceded after Saturday’s draw at relegation-threatened Wolverhampton Wanderers that time is running out for his side to gatecrash the play-offs.
The 64-year-old said: “I want to get into the play-offs.
“So, I am disappointed that we are not in the play-offs as games are running out.
“I want to go up. I think I am more frustrated than anyone. It is all right for the players, they are all young and they can play for years to come.”
A stoppage-time equaliser from central defender Danny Batth meant Warnock cut a frustrated figure at full-time after seeing his Leeds side dominate proceedings at Molineux.
The Yorkshire club hit back from conceding a second-half own goal by Lee Peltier to take the lead through a fine Luke Varney strike and a Ross McCormack penalty only for Batth to rescue a point in the dying seconds.
Wolverhampton: Ikeme, Foley, Batth, Berra, Ward, Doumbia (Sigurdarson 78), Henry (Edwards 87), O’Hara, Sako, Ebanks-Blake, Doyle. Unused substitutes: De Vries, Hunt, Davis, Margreitter, Cassidy.
Leeds United: Kenny, Byram, Peltier, Lees, Warnock, Brown, Norris, Green, Varney, Morison, McCormack (Barkley 90). Unused substitutes: Ashdown, Pearce, White, Tonge, Habibou, Hall.
Referee: R East (Wiltshire).
Man of the match: Tom Lees.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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