Sainsbury forces new Leeds meeting

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The Independent Online

Sebastien Sainsbury's on-off bid to buy Leeds United was given fresh impetus yesterday when the Elland Road chairman admitted talks regarding a £25m buy-out will resume next week.

Sebastien Sainsbury's on-off bid to buy Leeds United was given fresh impetus yesterday when the Elland Road chairman admitted talks regarding a £25m buy-out will resume next week.

Gerald Krasner terminated protracted negotiations with a Sainsbury-fronted, American-backed consortium on 12 November, saying the group had failed to provide proof of funding. Sainsbury subsequently parted company from the US investors, Nova Financial Partners, and found another investor, thought to be an Italian multi-millionaire, and restructured the deal.

Although Leeds dismissed Sainsbury's renewed efforts as recently as last week, Krasner said yesterday: "A meeting is planned between our legal team and Mr Sainsbury's legal team early next week.

"We will then need time to digest what is said at that meeting so it is impossible to say what will happen after that."

The meeting will take place at 9.30am on Monday. Sainsbury is proposing to buy back Elland Road and the club's Thorp Arch training complex, and invest at least £5m in new players. Krasner's board recently sold the club's major property assets to alleviate debt.

Krasner has been in talks for several months with another consortium, headed by a local businessman, Norman Stubbs. It is thought that doubts over that bid have forced Krasner back to Sainsbury.

Stubbs has been involved in his own on-off talks with Sainsbury, but the parties have yet to come close to agreeing any terms for a joint buy-out.

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