Leeds Utd sell 10% stake to Bahrain bank
LONDON (AFP) –
The Dubai-based owners of Leeds United, GFH Capital, have sold a 10 percent stake in the club to Bahraini International Investment Bank (IIB), the English second-tier club announced on Thursday.
The move follows reports that GFH had been looking to sell their entire stake, but they say they have merely recruited “strategic investors” to strengthen the club’s financial position.
“The introduction of IIB is in keeping with what have always been GFH Capital’s aims for the successful, sustainable and long-term ownership of Leeds United FC,” said GFH deputy chief executive David Haigh.
“We believe that a consortium of like-minded investors provides the best ownership model for a club which belongs among the elite of English football clubs and global sporting brands.
“It is our aim to provide the finance and the stability to enable the club to complete that journey as soon as possible.”
GFH expects other investors to join, providing Leeds with “sound long-term finance”, the club said.
As part of the deal, IIB’s chief executive, Aabed Al-Zeera, will join the Board of Leeds City Holdings Limited.
IIB was launched as an Islamic Investment Bank in October 2003.
On its website, IIB states 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”.
“We are delighted to become investors in Leeds United and would like to thank GFH Capital for facilitating this for us,” said Al-Zeera.
Three-time English champions Leeds have not competed in the Premier League since they were relegated at the end of the 2003-04 season.
They are currently seven points below the play-off places in the Championship with eight games of the season remaining.
GFH took control of the club from previous owner Ken Bates last December.