Leeds United owner GFH Capital switches PR to Ian Monk Associates

The Dubai-based private equity owner of Leeds United has drafted in Ian Monk Associates to handle PR around its ownership of the club.

Elland Road: Home ground of Leeds United
Elland Road: Home ground of Leeds United

The PR firm run by former Daily Mail and The Sun executive Ian Monk was engaged earlier this week without a pitch process. The agency handled media on this morning’s announcement that GFH Capital has sold a 10% stake in the club to Bahrain-based International Investment Bank.

Monk said that his consultancy would handle ongoing corporate and sports PR around GFHC’s ownership of Leeds. In particular, it will look to reinforce the owner’s commitment to retaining a significant investment in the club.

Earlier this week, GFH Capital’s parent company, investment bank Gulf Finance House, released a statement to the Bahrain Stock Exchange stating that it was looking to sell its stake in the club.

GFH Capital later sought to clarify its position, stating that it has no plans to sell and is instead seeking strategic investment.

‘There have been some mixed messages about GFH Capital’s continuing commitment to the club,’ Monk said. ‘It has always been its plan to bring onboard like-minded strategic investors and build a consortium of owners who can bring stability to the club and share the goal of getting Leeds back to the top tier of English football.’

In a statement this morning, GFH Capital said other investors were ‘expected to join’ and it continued to hold discussion with other interested parties.

The Outside Organisation previously handled corporate PR and media relations for GFH Capital and the club, working with GFHC since the early summer of 2012 when it was preparing a bid for Leeds.

It is understood that Outside will continue to work with the club on a number of community engagement initiatives. Earlier this month, the Leeds United Foundation announced a £100,000 project to bring football coaching and health-related activities to local primary schools.

As part of the retained brief, it is understood that Ian Monk Associates will support the GFHC board members and Leeds United directors David Haigh and Salem Patel in their dealings with the media.

GHFC bought 100% of the shareholding in Leeds United for around £22m from former Chelsea owner Ken Bates in December 2012.

Leeds United were one of the Premier League’s leading clubs before succumbing to relegation in 2004 amid financial problems that eventually led to the club entering administration in 2007. Leeds currently play in the Championship, English football’s second tier.

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