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SBD Global/February 5, 2014/Franchises

Leeds United Shirt Sponsor Enterprise Tries To Stop Takeover Of Club By Massimo Cellino

The battle for control of League Championship side Leeds United "intensified as Enterprise Insurance, the club's shirt sponsor, moved to wind up the company, according to Andrew Bounds of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Enterprise, whose Managing Dir Andrew Flowers "is a spurned bidder, has field a winding-up petition for the club over an alleged unpaid debt." It "will be heard in the High Court in March." The Gibraltar-based insurer issued the petition on Jan. 29, a day after talks with Sport Capital, a consortium including Flowers, a life-long Leeds fan, and Leeds Managing Dir David Haigh, "collapsed." The "move appears designed to prevent a sale" to Serie A Cagliari Owner Massimo Cellino, who clinched an agreement to buy 75% of Leeds on Friday. Enterprise "has apparently scrapped its shirt sponsorship of the club." In '12, it lent £1.7M at 7% interest for repayment in '15. Mike Smith, a corporate insolvency expert from Jameson Smith, said the insurers' move was "risky," since the debt "must be proved in law or costs could be awarded against it" (FT, 2/4).

STRONG OPPOSITION: In London, Mark Ogden wrote opposition to Cellino's proposed takeover "has been underlined by a survey" conducted by the Leeds Supporters Trust, with more than 75% voting against the Italian. A LUST statement read, "Over 75 percent of members, who have responded so far, have indicated that, given the events of last week and the weekend, they do not feel that Mr. Cellino would either understand LUFC supporters or be good for the club" (TELEGRAPH, 2/4).
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