Leeds United: GFH Capital completes takeover

Dubai-based private equity group GFH Capital has completed its takeover of Leeds United.

Previous owner Ken Bates is to remain as chairman until the end of the season, before becoming club president.

Analysis

BBC Radio Leeds' Leeds United reporter Adam Pope:

They've paid cash for a club that is debt-free but they would not confirm what they have paid for it.

They've bought 100% of the club and it's businesses and have already started to re-engage with fans through social media and selling half-season tickets.

They clearly support Neil Warnock, who they demanded stayed on as part of them buying the club.

Although not spending "crazy money" it looks like the intent is there to help the team get promoted.

GFH executive Salem Patel told BBC Radio Leeds: "In one or two years' time we want this club to be successful on and off the pitch.

"As a city Leeds is thriving but having a successful football club is absolutely vital."

GFH has confirmed that the deal, which is reported to have cost in the region of £52m, was paid in cash and that Leeds, who are currently 12th in the Championship and were knocked out of the League Cup by Chelsea on Wednesday, are debt free.

Patel believes that the game against the reigning European champions underlined the potential at Elland Road.

"I'm sure all of the bars, clubs and hotels were loving the business generated by the match against Chelsea," he said.

"We had 34,000 in the ground that day and that kind of atmosphere is something we are hoping to recreate every week."

He added: "What we want to do is create a successful but sustainable club and I think every fan will be with us.

"English football is one of the most successful exports that England has at the moment. People are watching world over and being part of that is very exciting to us.

"We want to take Leeds back where they belong."

Leeds United honours

  • Inter-Cities Fairs Cup winners: 1968, 1971
  • League champions: 1968-9, 1973-4, 1991-2
  • FA Cup winners: 1972
  • League Cup winners: 1968
  • FA Charity Shield winners: 1969, 1992

Fellow GFH executive David Haigh came onto the board earlier this month and will be joined by colleagues Patel and Hisham Alrayes.

Leeds first revealed they were in talks with potential investors in May, with GFH eventually emerging as the leading bidders.

Bates confirmed the takeover was approaching completion in October and GFH has been supporting Leeds financially since entering into an exclusivity period to conclude negotiations about its proposed investment.

It was announced last month that the deal had been finalised and the company had entered a one-month transitional period with previous owner Bates, before being formally completed at 20:40 GMT on Thursday.

Patel suggested that manager Neil Warnock will be supported but that may not involve a large spend on players in the January transfer window.

"January is not a great time to do business and we already have quite a good squad with others coming back from injury," he continued.

"Neil has stated what he wants and we will try our best to provide that."

Leeds take on Middlesbrough on Saturday before travelling to Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day.