Special Offer: Sainsbury's pedigree...

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The Independent Football

Sebastian Sainsbury is the 41-year-old great-grandson of John James Sainsbury, founder of the supermarket chain.

Sebastian Sainsbury is the 41-year-old great-grandson of John James Sainsbury, founder of the supermarket chain.

The Sainsbury family owns 38 per cent of the company, which is worth around £5bn, although the extent of Sebastian's private wealth is not known. His cousin is Lord Sainsbury, the multi-millionaire Labour Peer.

Sebastian, who worked in banking for 20 years, is arguably best known for his involvement in Mint, a members-only London cocktail bar which reportedly has Prince William among its shareholders. He is also involved in the restaurant trade and is one of several backers behind a new Gordon Ramsay venture. He has held directorships in various companies, including banks, and has a string of business contacts in America, especially in the IT and communications sectors.

He dabbled briefly in politics in 1997, when he stood in the General Election for the Referendum Party, contesting the Henley seat of the then sitting MP, Michael Heseltine. Sainsbury came fourth with 2,299 votes, or around four per cent.

He has no background in football. Four years ago, on the subject of investing, he said: "Don't play with your own money. You don't adhere to the most basic principles, thinking that you are invincible, driven by the idea of making it big."

... And those who found in Leeds a closed shop

Steve Parkin, lifelong fan and haulage magnate

His £20m bid was rejected in May 2004 by the Leeds board, who felt the offer was too low.

Ian Currie, then a director of Bolton Wanderers

Was part of a Yorkshire-based consortium made up of 10 wealthy individuals, including former Huddersfield Town chairman, Terry Fisher. They put together a £20m plus buy-out plan in February 2004.

Michael Ezra, Ugandan property magnate

Put forward a £60m bid in February 2004. However, the club distanced themselves from the Ugandan's bid. His plans included installing a non-British board at Elland Road.

Professor John McKenzie

Gave up his position as chairman of the club in December 2003 to launch a bid as part of a consortium financed by oil tycoon, Xu Ming, estimated to be the 14th-richest man in China with a personal fortune of more than £200m.

Allan Leighton, chairman of Royal Mail

Resigned as Leeds' deputy chairman in December 2003, increasing speculation that he was the man to save his beloved club. He was one-time favourite to rescue Leeds, but his bid was only seen as a short-term solution.

Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak al-Khalifa of Bahrain

Understood to have the support of two Saudi Arabian businessmen, put forward a bid in early December 2003. A member of the Bahrain royal family, the Sheikh declared his love for Leeds stretched back to his teenage days.

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