Leeds Sporting admits to talks with `media groups'

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LEEDS SPORTING, which owns Leeds United football club, has admitted it has been in talks with several media companies regarding possible business opportunities.

But the group refused to comment directly on speculation that Rupert Murdoch's satellite company, BSkyB, is planning to bid pounds 15m for a 9.9 per cent stake in the Leeds business. In a statement the company said: "We have noted recent press speculation regarding potential media partners. We have had various discussions with a number of media groups recently concerning a whole range of business activities. No agreements have yet been reached and we will make an announcement if, and when, appropriate."

BSkyB, said to be considering taking stakes in up to eight other Premier League clubs, also refused to comment.

Leisure company Granada has been touted as another possible bidder for a share in Leeds Sporting. Its spokesman said: "We have been involved in discussions with a range of football clubs on a range of issues for a long period of time. That is all I can say."

In July, Granada bought a 9.9 per cent stake in Liverpool football club. A ceiling of 10 per cent has been introduced for investors who wish to hold a similar stake in other clubs.