Leeds United suitor GFH Capital brings in PR help

A Dubai-based private equity house looking to buy English football club Leeds United has been using The Outside Organisation for media relations support, PRWeek understands.

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

GFH Capital, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bahrain-listed investment bank Gulf Finance House, is understood to have engaged Alan Edwards’ agency to help its pursuit of the Championship club.

Outside Organisation declined to comment on its involvement and GFH Capital did not return calls.

However, PRWeek understands the agency was contracted before the start of the English domestic football season in August and has since been engaged on low-key comms and media work.

GFH Capital announced to the Bahrain Stock Exchange on 27 September that it had ‘signed an exclusive agreement to lead a takeover of Leeds United’.

A subsequent GFH Capital update, thought to have been sent via Outside Organisation, announced the company planned to ‘move the club back to the Premier League as quickly as possible and help to build a sustainable future for the club, both on and off the field'.

The statement added: ‘This is expected to not only benefit the club and the surrounding community, but also the entire city of Leeds.’

Outside Organisation is best known for its work in the entertainment industry, advising stars such as Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie.

However, the group is increasingly looking to take on corporate PR work and currently advises Sunderland Football Club and Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell group on media and corporate issues. The agency also has a heritage in sport, having advised Novak Djokovic, Kevin Pietersen and David Beckham.

It is thought that agency founder Alan Edwards and director of corporate Sam Bowen are leading the agency’s involvement with GFH Capital.

Leeds United were one of British football’s leading clubs before a spectacular fall from grace amid financial problems a decade ago. The club battled against Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and AC Milan to reach the semi-final of the Champions League in 2001, but were relegated from the English Premier League just three years later.

Earlier this week David Haigh, deputy CEO of GFH Capital, said he hoped the deal to acquire Leeds would be completed by the end of October.

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