Fans group set Leeds United takeover target of three months

Leeds Fans United (LFU) believe they can purchase a majority stake in Leeds United within the next three months.

Don Revie looks upon Elland Road Stadium, home of Leeds United.

Should current majority owner Massimo Cellino provide them with exclusivity, LFU are also confident they could buy a minority stake within four or five weeks.

LFU chief executive Dylan Thwaites said: “We can do this deal. We can do the minority stake part of the deal within four or five weeks. We can do the majority stake part within three months.

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“We are highly confident. We need that legally binding exclusivity to progress with this deal.”

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LFU have audited figures provided by Companies House, and have set £30m as a maximum audited cost for the club.

The fans group has also outlined their intended method of raising the funds required, involving four tiers.

The majority shareholder would be fans who have invested into the community benefit society, buying shares for as little as £100, up to £10,000.

Another tier would be wealthy Leeds fans, who could invest larger sums.

There would also be a debt scheme exclusively offered to Leeds fans, with repayment not possible until the club reach the Premier League.

Finally, LFU would turn to institutional investors to deal with any cash fluidity issues and underwrite last resort lending.

Thwaites explained: “There’s four tiers to this. The first tier is the Community Benefit Society. This new scenario is great for the CBS, as the majority shareholder will be Leeds Fans United, i.e. other Leeds fans who’ve got a common purpose. All the powers over the legacy and purpose of Leeds United will be held by Leeds fans who’ve invested in the £100 shares, up to £10,000.

“The next tier will be made up of high net worth, wealthy Leeds United fans investing into LFU. These can be in the sums of hundreds of thousands or millions. We’ve had an astonishing numbers of people come forward in the last three days that are interested in doing this.

“If we still have a shortfall on the figure, we have a great debt scheme. This would bring debt to the club, but it would be debt from Leeds fans. The debt payments would be interest free and deferred until we get into the Premier League. For example, someone might lend us £1 million, but it would be interest free and paid back at £1.5 million when we get into the Premier League.

“The final fourth tier, which is if we’re still short, we can go to institutional investors. We’re talking to them, even today.”

Thwaites revealed LFU could undertake due diligence immediately, as soon as exclusivity is signed. He is unwilling to see shareholder money used for a bidding war.