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SBD Global/March 29, 2013/Finance

Leeds United Owners Sell 10% Stake In Club To Bahraini Investment Fund

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The Bahrain-based owners of League Championship club Leeds United "have announced the sale of a 10% stake in the club" to another Bahraini investment fund, the Int'l Investment Bank, according to David Conn of the London GUARDIAN. The sale follows the revelation that "there are contradictory intentions stated for Leeds" between Gulf Finance House and its subsidiary, Dubai-based GFH Capital, which concluded the takeover of Leeds in December. GFH Capital, not GFH, was "repeatedly cited" in the announcement as the owner of Leeds, and as the entity which agreed this 10% sale, of which it said: "IIB is the first strategic investor to come into the club in line with GFH Capital's long-stated plans to strengthen the club's overall shareholder base. Others are expected to join as GFH Capital creates the ownership structure which will provide the club with sound long term finance." Leeds supporters "were given almost no detail about IIB in the announcement" and now must "acclimatise to another institution previously unknown to them becoming a significant shareholder at Elland Road." The price paid for the 10% stake  was not disclosed (GUARDIAN, 3/28).

TEAMING UP: The London TELEGRAPH reported IIB CEO Aabed Al-Zeera "will join the Board of Leeds City Holdings Limited." Int'l Investment Bank B.S.C. "was launched as an Islamic Investment Bank" in Oct. '03. On its website, IIB stated the ''core business activities of the Bank include investing on its own account and investment, underwriting and placement in real estate and private equity in conformity with Islamic Shari'ah'' (TELEGRAPH, 3/28). REUTERS reported Leeds, who "suffered financial problems and dropped down the leagues" after reaching the '01 Champions League semifinals, are 10th in the Championship and "retain only slim hopes of making the playoffs for a place in the lucrative Premier League" (REUTERS, 3/28).
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