Bates bounces back and eyes up Leeds

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The Independent Online

Ken Bates, who quit as chairman of Chelsea two weeks ago, has been in talks with the consortium trying to take over Leeds United.

A deal worth around £22m to buy the heavily indebted club, which is threatened with relegation from the Premier League, has been agreed with the team, led by former Bradford City chairman Geoffrey Richmond.

The rescue involves allowing Leeds United plc to go into administration, then immediately selling the club to the consortium and using the proceeds to pay part of the £81m owed to creditors.

Bondholders, including M&G, Metlife and Teachers Fund, are understood to be willing to accept the deal. But Mr Richmond, who is supported by his son David, who recently sold his printing business for £2m, has not been able to raise enough money to complete the purchase.

Meanwhile, another consortium, believed to involve former Leeds United director Alan Leighton, is trying to raise funds for a rival deal.

Mr Richmond's consortium has had talks with Mr Bates, who pocketed £18m when he sold Chelsea to Russian tycoon Roman Ambramovich last year.

Mr Bates quit the club two weeks ago and immediately launched a £2m lawsuit for compensation against Chelsea.

He is believed to have made an approach to Sheffield Wednesday, which is £24m in debt. However, the club's chairman, Dave Allan, said publicly last week he did not want Mr Bates involved at Wednesday.

Mr Bates, often outspoken, was not available for comment.

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