Leeds takeover collapses

  • Last Updated: January 30 2014, 16:42 GMT

The consortium hoping to complete a takeover of Leeds this month have confirmed the deal has collapsed.

Takeover deal has collapsed
Takeover deal has collapsed

Sport Capital, headed by the club's current managing director David Haigh and Andrew Flowers, the managing director of their main sponsors, Enterprise Insurance, had agreed the terms of a buy-out with owners Gulf Finance House on November 30.

But talks between the two parties reached an impasse when Sport Capital submitted a revised offer for 75 per cent of the club's shares after completing due diligence and Haigh has now revealed some financial backers were unable to deliver.

Haigh said in a statement: "I have spent more than a year working for what I passionately believe are the best interests of Leeds United FC.

"During that time I have received fantastic support from the club's staff and the fans. I have also been grateful for the full and continuing support of GFH Capital and my fellow board members at Leeds United FC.

"My primary aim has always been to source the additional strategic investment necessary to take the club forward.

"Last year what I believed was the right opportunity presented itself in the shape of a chance for me to lead a consortium of investors, under the name of Sport Capital, to acquire a major stakeholding in the club.

"As fans know, we signed a share acquisition agreement with GFH Capital at the end of last year. This meant, I believed, that we were in a position to move things forward and complete the transaction in time for the January transfer window.

"Throughout every stage of the process we sought to keep fans as fully updated as possible on the progress of the negotiations.

"I can personally assure each and every supporter that every public statement made regarding the acquisition was made in the utmost good faith.

"Unfortunately, however, some of the consortium's backers ultimately didn't feel able to deliver the financial backing we had hoped was agreed to take the club forward.

"Despite this, the future of this club remains the most important thing to me personally and I remain totally committed to putting the right team and backing in place to ensure that Leeds United can move forward."

Haigh, who joined the board at Elland Road when GFH completed their takeover at Elland Road in December 2012, is still hoping to attract new investors.

Cagliari owner Massimo Cellino has been in talks with the club in recent weeks. His representatives have been seen at the club's Thorp Arch training complex and had been reported to be close to completing a takeover in the Italian press.

Another British consortium is also keen to take control of Leeds, who are searching for the right backers to help lift them back to the top flight for the first time in 10 years.

Former managing director of Manchester United International Mike Farnan heads a British-based group who had an offer turned down in November.

Haigh also revealed he had received personal abuse on Twitter, but is determined to continue the search.

He added: "It is an indication of that commitment that in recent months the Sports Capital consortium and I personally have injected substantial sums into the club to ensure its viability.

"At the same time neither my life nor my job has been made easier by the personal intrusions and abuse directed towards me on social media or by some of the smear campaigns against me personally.

"Equally, some of the speculation and stories published in the media have made things difficult for everyone, including the staff, players and supporters.

"I have met many, many potential investors over the past year and, sadly, while many are keen to talk the talk, they have been unable or unwilling to deliver in financial terms.

"Nevertheless these talks continue with a number of parties to seek the best possible outcome for Leeds United."

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