UPDATED - Leeds United: Chinese group interested in Whites takeover

Massimo Cellino
Massimo Cellino
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LEEDS UNITED are attracting interest from a consortium in China who could be about to launch a bid to take over at Elland Road.

The consortium of entrepreneurs and a private equity group has been assembled by Harrogate-born Leeds United fan Steve Tappin, who is the chief executive officer and founder of consultancy firm Xinfu.

Tappin, who is also the presenter of the CEO Guru series on BBC World, has been holding talks in Beijing this week, and has been reported as saying “there is definite interest in buying Leeds”.

The bid for United is likely to include working capital and could involve a payment for the club of more than £100 million pounds.

Whites chairman Massimo Cellino has previously said he will sell the club if receiving the right offer.

And in the wake of Chinese takeovers of fellow Championship clubs Aston Villa and Wolves, Tappin believes interest is there within the Asian country to purchase the Elland Road outfit.

In an article in Friday’s Chinese newspaper China Daily, Tappin is reported as saying: “I have had a series of meetings with related parties all this week, and there is definite interest in buying Leeds, but I want to ensure it would be with long-term investment, significant working capital and the right governance so it can be a stable platform for sustainable Premier League success.

“Leeds United is a big club with a very strong fan base and huge potential for investors, particularly if it can be returned to the Premiership.

Tappin added: “There is huge potential for Chinese investors. Leeds is a sleeping giant. The brand valuations of Manchester United, Manchester City and Barcelona run into billions of dollars and not long ago Leeds used to be up among them.”

Wolves were taken over by Chinese group Fosun earlier this month, after which Tappin said: “It’s so frustrating that Fosun are investing into Wolves rather than Leeds United.”