Leeds United: Majority stake for Haigh team

David Haigh.
David Haigh.
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Leeds United’s prospective new owners are to acquire a 75 per cent stake in the club, the Yorkshire Evening Post has learned.

A consortium led by United managing director David Haigh will buy three quarters of the shares when their takeover of Leeds goes through, securing major control of the boardroom at Elland Road.

Haigh’s group of investors are awaiting Football League approval after signing a share acquisition agreement with GFH Capital, the Dubai-based firm which purchased Leeds from Ken Bates a year ago.

GFH Capital appears to be nearing the end of its time as majority shareholder, though the company retain a stake at Elland Road following Haigh’s buy-out.

It currently owns a controlling interest alongside two other major shareholders at United – club chairman Salah Nooruddin and Bahrain’s International Investment Bank (IIB).

The Haigh-led takeover is due to be officially completed before the turn of the year – prior to the start of the January transfer window – and Football League approval is understood to be the only remaining obstacle to a second change of ownership at Elland Road in the space of 12 months.

GFH Capital accepted an offer from Haigh’s consortium prior to United’s 1-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers last month, issuing a statement which read: “GFH Capital have granted a period of exclusivity to the investors in readiness for the January transfer window.

“The two parties have signed a share acquisition agreement for the purchase of shares in the club with GFH retaining a significant stake.

“The consortium includes a number of high-profile businessmen and does not include any previous owners or players of the club.

“It is anticipated that the investment will be in place for the January transfer window and will see existing chairman Salah Nooruddin and managing director David Haigh remain at the club for the long term.”

The statement hinted strongly at improved funding for United manager Brian McDermott in the January window and Haigh’s group are expected to look closely at options for redeveloping United’s stadium, though the ground remains under private ownership and is in the hands of Teak Commercial Limited, an offshore company based in the British Virgin Islands.

Leeds retain a buy-back provision on the ground – agreed when it was originally sold in 2004 – but the cost of repurchasing Elland Road is now in excess of £15m.

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