Leeds United takeover ‘is heading to a conclusion’

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The proposed takeover of Leeds United was awaiting the go-ahead today after a week of exhaustive negotiations between United’s board and the group bidding to buy the club.

Intense discussions involving the legal representatives of both sides have continued throughout the past seven days in an attempt to break the deadlock surrounding the bid by a Middle Eastern consortium to take control at Elland Road.

A deal to acquire the club and the 72.85 per cent stake held by chairman and owner Ken Bates – a deal believed to have been reached in principle at the end of June – appeared to be drifting towards collapse a week ago but renewed talks have revived the possibility of a full takeover.

A legal source told the YEP last night that the buy-out of United was still dependent on the two sides resolving “necessary legal matters”, describing them as “decisive issues” but claiming the process was nearing the “end of the line, whichever way it goes.”

Bates, 80, was planning to attend United’s first Championship game of the season this afternoon – the start of his eighth full league term as the club’s chairman – after flying into England from Monaco on Wednesday, though it is understood that the buyers had hoped to see a takeover signed off ahead of today’s clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The group, whose identities remain unclear, have been discussing the purchase of Leeds for more almost three months and remain at the negotiating table, despite complications developing last week and frustration growing over the delay in agreeing a settlement.

The consortium are believed to be based in the Middle East, with their offer fronted by a financial institution in the region.

Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Hamad Al-Khalifa – a member of Bahrain’s ruling family who attempted unsuccessfully to take control of United in 2003 – was reported to be among the buyers but his involvement has never been confirmed and he has made no public comment about the proposed acquisition of Leeds.

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Kyle Bartley.

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