9 Sept 2007 :: by
Following the nonsense in the Sunday Express a fortnight ago we now have the Daily Mail expounding the details of an alternative take-over bid for Leeds United.
Based on a claim that Ken Bates and Freddy Shepherd were seen having a meal together (no actual details were supplied) they say that the ex-Newcastle United Chairman is ready to buy out the ex-Chelsea chairman - who "could be willing to sell".
Well, that seems definite then.
The Daily Mail assumes that as Shepherd made £37 million pounds on the sale of his Toon shares that he must be bored at want to take over a Third Division club.
We think it's more likely he was getting tips off Ken on how to berth a yacht in the harbour at Monte Carlo!
Or maybe Ken was simply asking Freddy what he thought of Paul Huntingdon? Or how Freddy made £37 million from a club that hasn't won a major trophy for nearly forty years? But if you were concluding a secret take-over negotiations and you had the public recognition factor of Ken Bates and Freddy Shepherd would you conduct them over a meal in public on Tyneside?
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[Cont'd from above] We'll soon see who is correct. Considering the two years of hell he has endured at the helm of Leeds United if Ken Bates wants to raise money from Leeds United it is far more likely that he will come to a financial arrangement with a merchant bank - they will buy the shares from Bates and sell them back to Bates' new Leeds United 2007 Ltd company at an agreed amount over a three year period. Bates gets the money he needs and there is no risk to the bank
losing its money as it is always the legal owner of the shares and can simply take over running the company if Bates fails to meet a repayment schedule.
It was noticeable that Ken Bates and Dennis Wise didn't let Hibs, Blackpool or Tranmere hold them to ransom over summer transfer targets and it is eminently possible that Bates and Wise do not need further funding, happy with pulling in gate receipts from 26000 at Elland Road and paying players Third Division wages - who needs debts?
But as we pointed out two weeks ago, Ken Bates cannot sell his interest in Leeds United 2007 Ltd until 30 June 2008. Until someone in the Fourth Estate takes notice of that fact these groundless stories will continue to be published. If the "newspaper" or websites you currently read publish take-over nonsense like this, maybe you should reconsider your Sunday reading?
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