Dubai firm "confirm" Leeds United takeover

Elland Road stadium
Elland Road stadium - home of Leeds United Photo: ITV Yorkshire

After months of speculation it has been confirmed that a Dubai-based consortium is to take over control of Leeds United.

GFH Capital Ltd, which is a subsidiary of the Bahrain investment bank Gulf Finance House, has confirmed that it has signed an exclusive deal to acquire Leeds City Holdings, the parent company of Leeds United.

News of the deal was confirmed in a letter from GFH to the Bahrain Stock Exchange.

It comes just days after senior GHF Capital members sat alongside Leeds United chairman Ken Bates in the director's box at Elland Road as the club inflicted a 2-1 defeat on Nottingham Forest.

Ken Bates
Ken Bates Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Among their number were life-long Leeds United fan David Haigh, deputy chief executive of GFH Capital Limited, and Salem Patel, a board member at the private equity company. Both men had previously attended Elland Road for United’s victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on the first day of the season.

They were accompanied by Hisham Alrayes, another prominent employee of GFH Capital Ltd who also works as acting chief executive officer for Gulf Finance House.

GFH would like to confirm that GFH Capital Limited, a 100% subsidiary of Gulf Finance House, has signed an exclusive agreement to lead and arrange the acquisition of Leeds City Holdings, the parent company of LUFC.

According to a recent study released by Deloitte, LUFC is one of the best supported clubs in English football with a higher average match day attendance than most Premier League teams.

In addition, LUFC has a large and passionate fan base and a rich history of success in English football over the last 40 years.

Football teams in England have recently received a significant revenue boost due to the re-negotiation of broadcasting rights and it is expected that from next season each team in the Premier League will receive a minimum of £60million per season due to the increase in broadcasting rights.

LUFC would also benefit from this if it can achieve promotion to the Premier League.

Due to a confidentially provision, no further details can be given about the commercial terms of the transaction.

– Nabeel Mirza, Compliance Manager GFH

The financial future of the Elland Road club has been up in the air since Leeds revealed, on June 26, they had granted exclusivity to a potential investor.

Details remained thin on the ground after that, until current owner Ken Bates broke his summer-long silence after the Forest game by admitting he was in talks with a group from the Middle East.

The takeover of Leeds would end Bates` seven-year reign which has been largely dogged by supporter unrest.

Protests have regularly been staged against the former Chelsea owner for a perceived lack of investment.

So far there has been no comment from the club about the takeover but a Yorkshire-based sports lawyer , Clive Lawrence says it's unclear whether or not today's announcement means a deal is imminent.