Caspian bid for Leeds Utd underlines City love affair

The City's growing love affair with top football clubs was underlined yesterday when a media company backed by several leading investors said it was in talks to buy Leeds United, and shares in two other leading Premiership sides soared on the prospect of greatly enhanced revenues from digital television.

Shares in Caspian Group were suspended after the company said it was in discussions that could lead to it acquiring a controlling stake in Leeds United. Caspian is owned by leading investment groups including Schroders, Mercury Asset Management, London and Manchester, and Guardian Royal Exchange.

Chris Akers, the former Swiss Bank corporate financier and Caspian chairman, was understood to be in Leeds yesterday to finalise the terms of a deal that would see the group pay pounds 10m for a 65 per cent stake in the club owned by Bill Fotherby, Leeds chairman, and Eric Silver, his predecessor.

Caspian is also said to be keen to take on the club's pounds 10m debt. It would fund the deal through a placing of shares with institutions.

Buying Leeds United would more than double the size of Caspian and represent the first step in transforming it from a television production and animation company into a large sports and leisure group.

News of the takeover approach for Leeds came as shares in Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur hit record highs after a report in Saturday's Independent said the Premier League's 20 clubs could share in a pay-per- view television bonanza worth up to pounds 2.5bn a season. Shares in Manchester United climbed 35p to 400p, while Tottenham Hotspur soared 51p to 429p.

The confidential report from polling firm Harris has encouraged top teams to hold out for a far more lucrative deal when the broadcast rights to live Premier League football matches from 1997 are discussed at a key meeting of club chairmen in Coventry later this week. The current contract is held by BSkyB.

Based on a sample of 4,000 viewers from around the country, Harris found that League and FA Cup winners Manchester United could earn up to pounds 382m a season if all matches were transmitted at various times of the day at pounds 10 a time. Next would come Liverpool and Arsenal, who would receive pounds 339m and pounds 190m respectively, followed by Leeds (pounds 162m) and Tottenham on (pounds 121m).

These figures dwarf the pounds 60m the League as a whole received from all television deals last season and are fuelling renewed interest in football clubs as serious investments.

Two other potential bidders have already emerged for Leeds: Paul Sykes, a local businessman, and Barry Rubery, co-owner of Pace, the satellite decoder machine company about to be listed on the stock market. Both are regulars at Leeds' Elland Road ground.

QPR, relegated from the Premier League last season, is also up for sale.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn