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SBD Global/December 13, 2012/Finance

Bahrain-Based Bank Nears Completion Of Leeds United Takeover

The Football League’s decision to sanction the appointment of three members of management at Bahrain-based bank Gulf Finance House Capital to the board of directors at Leeds United "removed a major obstacle to completion of the firm’s takeover" on Dec. 21, according to Phil Hay of the YORKSHIRE EVENING POST. Approval from the Football League is "fundamental to any serious investment," and the realization of GFH Capital’s 100% buy-out a week from Friday was "reliant on the governing body accepting that the three men fronting the deal were fit and proper." With the "owners and directors test" behind them, there is "no obvious obstruction to final payment in return for full ownership in nine days’ time." GFH Capital Deputy CEO David Haigh will travel to England from Dubai, UAE Thursday to "begin the countdown to a full transfer of shares." The most pressing expenditure facing them now, aside from payment of funds to seal the takeover, is "the cash required by Manager Neil Warnock in the January transfer window." United has asked Warnock to "draw up a list of targets," and the arrival of Haigh in Leeds this week "should prompt further talks with United's manager" (YORKSHIRE EVENING POST, 12/12).

GROWING CONCERN: In London, Charles Sale reported "doubts about the proposed takeover" of Leeds United by GFH Capital will "grow after a scheduled payment date was missed." The Middle East investors, whose "fit-and-proper-persons test by the Football League for club owners and directors is ‘ongoing,’ failed to transfer a tranche of money to Leeds last week." This will "only add to supporters’ concern about the lack of transparency" concerning the purchase of the 49% shareholding of 81-year-old Owner Ken Bates, who is "due to stay on as chairman until the end of the season before becoming club president" (DAILY MAIL, 12/11).
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