Leeds United Football Club has been acquired by a Dubai-based investment bank.
GFH Capital has bought a 100 per cent stake in Leeds United Football Club and will now provide working capital for the manager of the club, Neil Warnock, to buy players.
The team’s chairman Ken Bates, who has previously held roles at clubs including Chelsea, will remain in his position for a transition period until the end of the season.
After this period, a new GFH Capital-led chairman will take over and Bates will become club president.
In 2005, after failing in a bid to invest in Sheffield Wednesday, Bates purchased a 50 per cent stake in Leeds United. By 2007 the club entered administration and was sold, by administrators KPMG, to a newly-formed company named Leeds United Football Club Limited, of which Bates was one of three directors.
Bates says that the ‘six-month courtship’ of negotiations has given GFH Capital the opportunity to see the strengths and weaknesses and what needs to be supported.
Salem Patel, board director and chief investment officer at GFH Capital comments, ‘Today has been a long time coming and each side had to concede some ground in order to get this deal done in the best interests of the club.
‘We have received very strong support from the management and staff of Leeds as well as the fans during this process. We hope to continue working closely with all of the key stakeholders to ensure a successful and sustainable future is created for the club.’
Bates adds, ‘I’ve made no secret of the fact that we’ve been looking for investment since we came in on January 21 2005 and there’s been a lot of reasons why that has taken so long.
‘One of the reasons has been the chancers and con men who circulate, and it’s been a difficult process weeding out those people. However, we have achieved our target and ambition, and can build on the foundations laid slowly but surely over the past few years.
‘We’ve had plenty of approaches but because of the TV money in the game people are attracted like wasps around a candle.’