A group of investors, led by a member of the Bahraini royal family, is likely to conclude its takeover of English football club Leeds United within the next two weeks, according to a report in the UK.
Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa, the man who led a failed takeover of the side in 2003, is reportedly part of a consortium close to completing a deal for the Championship side.
“The club has been talks with a group of investors led by the Bahrani royal Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa… [and] are now, as we understand it, on the brink of a takeover which should be completed in the next fortnight,” talkSPORT, the UK’s biggest national commercial sports radio station, said in a report this week.
Sheikh Abdulrahman’s representatives are believed to be carrying out due diligence on the club’s finances and the asking price has been estimated at around GBP£50m (US$77.6m), the report added.
Al-Khalifa, a member of Bahrain’s ruling dynasty, was part of a consortium including representatives from Saudi Arabia and Asia which failed to push through a takeover deal just under a decade ago, local newspaper the Yorkshire Post reported earlier this month.
A successful takeover would follow hot on the heels of Nottingham Forest’s sale to Kuwait's Al Hasawi family. The Kuwaitis were reported to have also considered buying Leeds United.
The Yorkshire club said in a statement: “Leeds United can confirm they have granted an exclusivity period to enable a potential investor to carry out the appropriate due diligence.
“It is anticipated this will be a fairly straightforward process. A confidentiality clause prevents the club from making any further comment."
The statement did not mention the value of the potential deal or names of anyone involved.
The latest acquisition would give Al-Khalifa automatic membership to an elite club of Gulf investors that own European football teams. Abu Dhabi United Group Investment and Development Limited, led by HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, acquired Manchester City for a reported US$321m in summer 2008.
Qatar Sports Investments bought a 70 percent stake in French football club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in June last year. The investment firm became the sole shareholder of the club after purchasing the remaining 30 percent stake in March.
Dubai’s Royal Emirates Group owns the Spanish La Liga side Getafe.
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