LEEDS United have revealed that a deal to sell the club to GFH Capital is “very close” following further talks between the two sides in the past few days.
A joint statement published by both parties on United’s official website said GFH Capital had “provided the Leeds United owners and management with the necessary proof that it has the funds available to close this transaction.”
Discussions about a buy-out have been ongoing for more than five months, and the delay in securing a deal raised repeated questions about GFH Capital’s ability to fund its proposed takeover.
The Dubai-based equity firm has invested at least £2million in the club since opening negotiations in May but it is still to finalise a 100 per cent purchase of Leeds City Holdings, the parent company of Leeds United.
Today’s statement read: “As an obligatory part of this stage of the talks, GFH Capital, which has already provided £2m to the club with further funds available, has now provided the Leeds United owners and management with the necessary proof that it has the funds available to close this transaction.”
United chairman Ken Bates, who currently owns a 72.85 per cent stake in Leeds, said: “It’s been a long road but we are in a good place. Both sides have been in talks over the last few days to finalise this deal. We are keeping focused and hope to complete very soon.”
David Haigh, the deputy chief executive of GFH Capital, said: “With the money in place, we are poised to make this deal happen pending agreements and arrangements which are in the interests of the future of Leeds United - we need to make sure all the finer detail is addressed before trading signatures.”
“Despite what has been said recently in media, both sides continue to talk regularly and continue to work hard to get the job done.”
GFH Capital director and chief investment officer Salem Patel added clarification that the operation of the club would not be hindered by Shari`ah law, owing to GHF`s Islamic background, saying: “We understand there is some concern related to how Leeds United would be run under our stewardship.
“It remains important to be clear that Shari’ah law will not hinder this transaction, nor will it affect the future operations of the club.
“Our intention is to provide investment which will facilitate a successful and sustainable future for Leeds United on and off the pitch.”
Former Chelsea chairman Bates, 80, who took control of Leeds in 2005, has become increasingly unpopular with a growing number of fans due to a perceived lack of investment in the playing squad.