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Leeds takeover completed


Leeds United are safe for now
Leeds United's future is guaranteed following a £30m takeover by a locally-based consortium.
Under the terms of the agreement with major creditors Leeds Utd plc and a holding company were placed into administration prior to being wound up.

The move allowed the assets and reduced debts to be taken over by Leeds Utd's new holding company Adulant Force Ltd.

The consortium is led by new Leeds chairman Gerald Krasner, and includes former player Peter Lorimer.


THE NEW LEEDS LEADERS
Gerald Krasner - chairman
Owner of Bartfields accountants
Peter Lorimer
Former Leeds Utd player
David Richmond
Son of Geoffrey, former Bradford chairman
Melvin Helme
Melvyn Levi
Simon Morris

The takeover was completed after major creditors - including bondholders M&G, Teachers and MetLife, and Gerling Insurance - agreed to accept about 20p in the pound on total debts believed to total £100m.

Negotiations have also restructured repayments to other creditors such as the Inland Revenue, who will be paid all their monies in full.

Former managers Peter Reid and David O'Leary also agreed to big reductions in the outstanding contract settlements they are owed by the club.

Under the terms of the takeover, the consortium will buy the club's Elland Road stadium and Thorp Arch training grounds, which will be operated by Adulant Force Limited.

The takeover will see £20m go to pay off debts, with another £10m used as working capital.


Krasner emerged from meetings with lawyers to say: "The consortium has done its job, Leeds United is saved for the supporters."

"The club is off life support and can now move forward," he told BBC Radio Leeds.

"We've been tying up the legal work with over 100 documents to sign and we are now looking forward to the future.

"The club is now solvent and we're now looking forward to retaining our Premiership status."

In addition to Lorimer, the new board will include David Richmond, son of former Bradford chairman Geoffrey.

Geoffrey Richmond acted as an advisor to the consortium and is expected to be retained in a consultative capacity.

And he revealed that Leeds' highest-earning player pulls in £3.5m a year, and that contracts worth a total of £11m will expire at the end of this season.


Would Gordon Strachan want to come out of retirement?
Krasner will taker over as chairman from Trevor Birch, who staved off the threat of administration and expected to stay on for months to facilitate the handover.

Leeds are anchored at the foot of the Premiership table and are battling to avoid the drop into the Nationwide League.

Lorimer said that relegation would not affect the takeover.

"It would be a major blow, but the consortium have looked at all the possibilities and one of them is that Leeds could be relegated. Plans have been made should that happen and it won't alter anything."

Regardless of where Leeds play next season, the new board is thought to be keen to try and tempt former Southampton boss Gordon Strachan out of retirement.

In that event, current caretaker manager Eddie Gray would be found a role within the club as a reward for his work during the club's difficult period.

bbc

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Good news.Let's hope that our new board brings some much-needed stability for the club.:)
 

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The new owners and Board members of Leeds United are as follows:

Gerald Krasner – Chairman. Gerald is an insolvency practitioner and owner of Bartfields accountants. The company, headquartered in Leeds also has offices in London and Newcastle. Gerald is a life long supporter of Leeds United. Gerald will be the new chairman of Leeds United.

Melvin Helme – Corporate Finance Director. Melvyn brings with him many year’s of banking and corporate finance experience.

David Richmond – Commercial and Marketing Director. David – son of former Bradford City chairman Geoffrey Richmond - was also a member of the Valley Parade board and responsible for the Club’s retail and marketing division. David is also a successful entrepreneur in his own right and a life long season ticket holder at Leeds United.

Melvyn Levi – Board Director. Born and bred in Leeds,Melvyn is a successful businessman in h is own right and a former director of Bramley Rugby League Club.

Peter Lorimer – Board Director. Peter has a long association with Leeds United, both as a player and supporter. He still owns the record of 703 appearances for the club after being the youngster ever player to debut at Elland Road, at the age of 15. Peter also has a number of successful business venture behind him and currently runs a successful pub near to the Leeds’ ground in Holbeck.

Simon Morris – Board Director. 29-year-old Simon made his name as a property developer and enjoys an enviable reputation as a self-made businessman.

leedsunited.com
 

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Gray welcomes Lorimer appointment to Leeds board
tribalfootball.com - March 20, 2004

Leeds United caretaker boss Eddie Gray has welcomed the club's takeover.
New owners bought the club yesterday and Gray told Sky Sports, "I'm delighted for the club. It gives everybody a bit of peace of mind and hopefully we can go forward now and look to the future.

"It means a lot to the people in the city of Leeds. I think it's a great club with a great fanbase and I'm absolutely delighted.

"Peter Lorimer knows a lot about the city and a lot about the club and I'm sure he'll be a great asset to the new board.

"The important thing for the club now is to try and stay in the Premiership.

"Hopefully this will give the players a lift. There's been a lot of talk about the players, the deferment of wages and things like that, they can now concentrate on football matches.

"It's going to take a lot of hard work to get out of it and it starts on Monday night with the game against Manchester City at home.

"The supporters have been fantastic and it's a great reward for them that they know the club's going to survive in the future."

Lorimer, whose main role on the board will be advising on football matters and liaising with the media, added: "Congratulations to the new board for winning the battle. I think it's been nine solid weeks now, meeting with lawyers all over the world from sunset to sunrise and at last it's come off for them. It's certainly a triumph for sticking in there.

"When I met the guys [from the consortium] I asked the questions the fans would be asking. Everything was a positive.

"Being on the board is something totally different, but I've got 40 years' knowledge in football. I've also done a lot of work over the last few years on the media side, and I think that's what they want me to help with.

"I think it's a very good thing. Most clubs should have people on the board with football knowledge and I think the blend should work.

"The big job is to stay in the Premiership, that would be great if the boys could keep us up but the board has got plans should that not happen."

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Leeds begin new era as owners get to work
tribalfootball.com - March 20, 2004

Gerald Krasner has been named new Leeds United chairman as the Yorkshire club were bought out yesterday.
Krasner will head up a six-man board which includes former Leeds legend Peter Lorimer, who will become a director and be responsible for interacting with the media.

Other names include property developers Simon Morris and Melvyn Helme, the latter to be corporate finance director as he was a former NatWest bank high-flier, entrepreneur Melvyn Levi and David Richmond, son of former Bradford chairman Geoffrey who has been acting as an unpaid advisor.

Geoffrey Richmond, acting as an advisor to the consortium, told Sky Sports News that the consortium had raised "in excess of ?0million" to seal the takeover deal.

"We have to cut costs," Richmond admitted. "We have 60 professionals at Leeds - that's first-year professionals right up to internationals - and 15 of those 60 professionals are on ?million or more. It's unsustainable."

Richmond revealed that one player earned in excess of ?.5million a year.

"It is impossible to renegotiate a contract. That contract was negotiated in good faith and there is no question of the club renegotiating contracts," Richmond added.

"However some contracts - ?1million worth of player contracts - come to an end on June 30 and it is unlikely that any of those will be renewed."
 

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Leeds braced for fire sale as new team takes over
By Tim Rich
20 March 2004

The financial flames engulfing Leeds United may have been extinguished but Elland Road must now prepare for a fire sale.

The Yorkshire consortium which yesterday took control of the stricken Premiership club has as its priority a drastic reduction in the wage bill that would see a minimum of 10 first-team players leave whether or not they escape relegation.

While the club's new chairman, the accountant Gerald Krasner, whose offer of around �0„522m was yesterday accepted by Leeds' major creditors, stated that the team will continue to play at Elland Road, there will be no guarantee of who will occupy the home dressing-room next season.

Krasner will head up a six-man board which includes the former Leeds legend Peter Lorimer, who will become a director and be responsible for interacting with the media.

Other names include the property developers Simon Morris and Melvyn Helme, the latter to be corporate finance director, entrepreneur Melvyn Levi and David Richmond, the son of the former Bradford chairman Geoffrey who has been acting as an unpaid advisor. David said Leeds had no option but to slash costs dramatically.

"We have 60 professionals at Leeds - that's first-year professionals right up to internationals. Fifteen of those professionals are on �0„51m or more. It's unsustainable," said Richmond, whose regime at Bradford ran up debts of �0„536m. One player, he remarked, earned �0„53.5m a year, but Richmond ruled out any suggestion that contracts might be renegotiated. "It is impossible to renegotiate a contract. These contracts were negotiated in good faith. However, some contracts - �0„511m worth of player contracts - come to an end on June 30 and it is unlikely any will be renewed."

This policy would see the departure of all the loan players recruited by Leeds' former manager, Peter Reid: Didier Domi, Zoumana Camara, Salomon Olembe, Lamine Sakho and Jermaine Pennant. Stephen Caldwell would also be asked to return to Newcastle. Three veterans whose contracts expire in June - David Batty, Lucas Radebe and Jason Wilcox, would also leave.

Despite the years of service given by Batty and Radebe, Leeds fans would shed few tears at the departure of any of these, bar perhaps Pennant, who has been effective since coming from Arsenal. However, the loss of their England international goalkeeper, Paul Robinson, which now appears inevitable, would hit hard despite the faith the Leeds manager, Eddie Gray, has invested in his deputy, Scott Carson. Robinson has 15 months remaining on his contract and has twice been on the verge of leaving Elland Road this year.

Most predators will, nevertheless, focus on the three jewels remaining from the team that in 2001 was one victory away from appearing in a European Cup final. Dominic Matteo, Mark Viduka and Alan Smith are all contracted to Leeds until 2006. Should they be unable to escape relegation - and Leeds could be eight points adrift of safety when they play Manchester City on Monday - holding on to any of these would appear impossible, despite Smith's protestations of loyalty. Even if Leeds survive, their transfer value will only decline.

The value of shares in the club's plc is now virtually nil. They have been suspended at 2.75p, having lost 70 per cent of their value during this financial year, one in which they recorded losses of �0„549m, a record for an English football club. Since the takeover, which settles outstanding debts of �0„582m, has no value to shareholders, administrators have been appointed to oversee the winding-down of the plc and its subsidiary, Leeds United Holdings Limited.

Neither the club nor the consortium divulged much information yesterday. Leeds only stated that an "eight-figure sum" had been accepted, while neither Richmond nor Krasner revealed their financial backers, although these are thought to include the property developer and former Watford chairman, Jack Petchey. The �0„522m has been accepted as settlement by the bondholders, who arranged a �0„560m refinancing package three years ago, and the Guernsey-based company Registered European Football Finance which was owed �0„522m for loans to buy players on behalf of the former chairman, Peter Ridsdale.

Krasner's assurance that Leeds will continue to play at Elland Road does not rule out selling the ground and leasing it back, while arrangements are already in place to sell off part of the Thorp Arch training complex.

http://sport.independent.co.uk/football/leeds/story.jsp?story=503066
 

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Leeds face massive squad overhaul
tribalfootball.com - March 21, 2004

The advisor to Leeds United's new owners, former Bradford chairman Geoffrey Richmond, has confirmed the club will be slashing their playing squad at the end of the season.

"We have 60 professionals at Leeds - that's first-year professionals right up to internationals. Fifteen of those professionals are on ?m or more. It's unsustainable," said Richmond.

"It is impossible to renegotiate a contract. These contracts were negotiated in good faith. However, some contracts - ?1m worth of player contracts - come to an end on June 30 and it is unlikely any will be renewed."

This policy would see the departure of all the loan players recruited by Leeds' former manager, Peter Reid: Didier Domi, Zoumana Camara, Salomon Olembe, Lamine Sakho and Jermaine Pennant. Stephen Caldwell would also be asked to return to Newcastle. Three veterans whose contracts expire in June - David Batty, Lucas Radebe and Jason Wilcox, would also leave.

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Lorimer: Leeds owners have budgeted for relegation
tribalfootball.com - March 21, 2004

New Leeds United director Peter Lorimer says tomorrow's fixture at home to Manchester City as "one of the biggest games the club have ever had".

He told the Independent, "The new board had to take into consideration a real possibility of going down, and they've budgeted accordingly.

"There's basically two budgets and it's not as if you've got to start rethinking if we go down. There are five massive home fixtures, all winnable, and obviously if we were to lose this one tomorrow the pressure would be piling up."
 

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I might be wrong but this sounds like great news and a huge relief. Going to the 2nd division might be a setback but nothing compared to closure and the end of our great club. And if the people who have toyed with us, treating LUFC like another share in their portfolios are out of pocket, then ha ha ha, good riddance!
 

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Lorimer blasts ex-Leeds chairman Ridsdale
tribalfootball.com - March 23, 2004

New Leeds United director Peter Lorimer has slammed the club's former chairman Peter Ridsdale.

He blasted: "Those running the club have been guilty of gross mismanagement.

"There were private planes all over the place and massive contracts being handed out which couldn't possibly be afforded unless Champions League football was sustained.

"This was a place where lots of people chased their rainbows and tried to find their dreams.

"Unfortunately, it was the club who suffered after people had got carried away in their heads with the little bit of success they had.

"Everyone was talking about Leeds going into the new century as the team which would be a real football power.

"But it is amazing how quickly our team became a laughing stock.

"Massive amounts of money have gone out of this club and apologies are owed to our loyal fans, to our shareholders, many of whom have lost a lot of cash, and to the people who built this club in the first place and gave it a name and a great reputation.

"Lessons have been learned and that kind of thing will not happen again."
 

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Leeds hope to raise £10M with new ticket scheme
tribalfootball.com - March 26, 2004

Leeds United are floating the idea of selling 20-year season tickets.
The plan is to raise an immediate £10 million from the scheme, which is being backed by new chairman Gerald Krasner.

Krasner said: "We think it represents phenomenal value for supporters who have been so loyal through difficult times.

"Hopefully this will show the fans we are committed in the long-term and will bind us closer together."
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Here's an article (written in somewhat pessimistic tone) about the background of recent takeover:

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Leeds' secretive new owners will bank on borrowed cash
By Mihir Bose (Filed: 25/03/2004)

A new regime took control at Leeds this week, but it became immediately apparent that they have at least one thing in common with Peter Ridsdale's regime: they are using borrowed money.


The difference is that Ridsdale, as chairman of Leeds, borrowed from institutions; the new owners have borrowed from individuals. But it is not so much the immediate financial facts - or lack of them, as new chairman Gerald Krasner has refused to reveal almost anything - that will worry Leeds fans as the lack of success of some members of the new regime when it comes to rescuing clubs.

Melvyn Levi was involved in the attempted rescue of Bramley Rugby League club some eight years ago and it went so wrong that the club is now extinct.

Then there is the involvement of Geoffrey Richmond, the former chairman of Bradford City. He has said recently: "I am an unpaid adviser to the consortium, not a leading member nor an investor and I have already said I will not be a director of a club going forward."

Richmond has been a director of companies but, unfortunately, many of these companies either get dissolved or go into liquidation.

Apart from taking Bradford into administration in May 2002 the records at Companies House shows that since 1991 he has been a director of 21 companies. Nine of them have been dissolved, three went into liquidation and one into administration.

The new board at Leeds will have to be a lot more transparent if they are to inspire confidence, something which Krasner, until recently, seemed keen to uphold.

In his first press conference on Monday, Krasner proclaimed that, as a blunt Yorkshireman, he would "tell it like it is". Yesterday, when The Telegraph attempted to unearth the financial details of the Leeds rescue package, Krasner would tell very little, snapping: "We've signed confidentiality agreements and these are to be respected. I'm not going to answer questions about finances."

So secretive is Krasner that he even refused to answer questions about Adulant Force Ltd, the new company of which he is a director and which has provided the money to rescue Leeds. Some very limited information on this company is available with Companies House, but this does not disclose how much he has invested or details of the company's finances. When I asked him, he said: "I'm not going to comment on my personal finances."

As already revealed by The Telegraph, £15 million has been lent by Jack Petchey, who has refused to answer our questions about the interest he is charging because of confidentiality clauses in his agreement.

The other money appears to have been lent by David Richmond, who is reported to have recently sold his business for many millions.

The Telegraph also understands that the amount invested is not £22 million but nearer £20 million: £15 million of this was used to settle the £80 million owed in total to the bond holders and REF Girling, the finance company which provided the hire purchase to buy players.

For weeks lawyers for the bond holders and REF Girling argued over the division of the £15 million. The bond holders won, getting 20p in the £1, REF Girling 10p.

However, this does not mean that Leeds are free of debt. The football club still have debts of £20 million, owning nearly £10 million to the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise and another £10 million to other creditors.

The new owners will have to find money to pay this debt. Out of their original investment they have some £5 million left to run the club.

The deal with the bond holders means they can now sell and lease back Elland Road, as well as keep the proceeds from the sale of players.

telegraph.co.uk
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Carson35 said:
Leeds hope to raise £10M with new ticket scheme
tribalfootball.com - March 26, 2004

Leeds United are floating the idea of selling 20-year season tickets.
The plan is to raise an immediate £10 million from the scheme, which is being backed by new chairman Gerald Krasner.

Krasner said: "We think it represents phenomenal value for supporters who have been so loyal through difficult times.

"Hopefully this will show the fans we are committed in the long-term and will bind us closer together."
They offer this deal to 2000 fans.For £3700 they get the season tickets for 20 years.Currently a season ticket costs about £370.So it's like 10 years of season tickets for free.
 

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It's a nice idea, and it will save people alot of money but how many people will have this kind of money right away? I'm not sure how it is going to work but I'm not sure if it will help alot...
 
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