Ken Bates ‘will exit Leeds if Arab takeover succeeds’

KEN Bates will sever all ties with Leeds United if the takeover mounted by a Dubai-based company successful, it was reported today.

The Yorkshire Evening Post says GFH Capital, the company leading the bid to purchase United, is seeking a full buy-out which would end Bates’ seven-and-a-half year association with Leeds.

The proposal put forward by the middle-eastern firm has been shrouded in secrecy since the company began negotiating a takeover in May but details are beginning to emerge with discussions between the sides threatening to drag into a fifth month.

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GFH Capital have talked previously of an “acquisition” of Leeds City Holdings Limited, the parent company of Leeds United, but the YEP says the firm plans to acquire “100 per cent of the club” and establish “entirely new ownership” at Elland Road. It was previously unclear whether Bates – United’s chairman since January 2005 – would retain an interest in the club under GFH Capital’s proposal.

The two parties appeared to be closing in on an agreement almost two weeks ago after Bates and representatives of GFH Capital – deputy chief executive David Haigh and board members Salem Patel and Hisham Alrayes – held another round of intensive talks before United’s 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest, a match which Haigh, Patel and Alrayes all attended.

But an agreement is still to be reached, despite GFH Capital saying in a statement last week that it had “begun working on its future strategies for the club.”

The statement added: “Its intentions, if successful in its acquisition, is to move the club back to the Premier League as quickly as possible and help to build a sustainable future for the club, both on and off the field.”

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