THE Dubai-basED company looking to buy Leeds United invested £2m in the club this summer – with a source close to the bidders claiming today that the total cash injection was nearer to £6m.
Documents submitted to Companies House a fortnight ago revealed a seven-figure payment made by GFH Capital to United’s parent company, Leeds City Holdings Limited.
A source at GFH Capital, spoken to by the Yorkshire Evening Post, claimed the £2m figure was around “a third of the money” put into United by the club’s prospective owners since takeover talks began.
Companies House shows no reference to other payments, however, and the source was unable to confirm how or when additional investment was made. The transfer of £2m is understood to have taken place during the summer when Leeds were rebuilding their squad and talks between the board at Elland Road and GFH Capital were gathering speed.
United have been in negotiations with GFH Capital – a private equity firm wholly owned by Bahraini investment bank Gulf Finance House – over a £52m buy-out of the club for almost five months. The protracted process and investigations into the financial state of Gulf Finance House raised concerns about GFH Capital’s ability to finance a takeover.
However, the company has argued its business is separate to that of Gulf Finance House and that it has the cash needed to buy United. It is yet to reveal where that money will come from but a document drawn up for Companies House confirms GFH Capital paid £2m for a “mortgage of shares” in Leeds City Holdings Limited, the firm which owns Leeds.
The YEP’s source said: “The company has always maintained that when it takes control of the club, major investment will be made in the football side of the business. The £2m payment is only part of what’s been transferred to Leeds United to help with the running of the club and the signing of players. It’s around a third of the money GFH Capital has paid. It demonstrates that GFH Capital’s commitment to this deal is very strong and that the company has the funds available to complete a cash purchase.”
Both parties are bound by a confidentiality clause and Leeds have made no comment.