Bahrain-based fund agrees to acquire football club Leeds United

Bahrain-based investor Gulf Finance House (GFH) on Thursday said its fully-owned unit GFH Capital Ltd had inked an exclusive deal to head and arrange the takeover of Leeds City Holdings, the parent of Leeds United Football Club (LUFC).

The company gave no details on the financial aspect of the acquisition, or the timetable, invoking a confidentiality agreement.
However, it said that LUFC is one of the best supported English football clubs, with an attendance above the average per match day of most teams in the Premier League.

GFH expects the club to get financial benefits from the recent negotiations of football broadcast rights and sees chances for it to step up into the Premier League, it added.

Leeds United is currently one step below the Premiership, being 12th in the second league of British football. The club, active since 1919, is also known as the Whites, United and the Peacocks. It has so far won three League Championships and one FA Cup, with the last English championship won in 1992.

Ken Bates, Leeds’ chairman, said five days ago that the club was in advanced talks over a potential investment, Bloomberg reported. On 26 June 2012, the club said it had entered into an exclusivity arrangement with a potential investor, Daily Mail reported.

UK’s 3i sells Spanish Esmalglass to Bahrain-based Investcorp

British private equity investor 3i Group Plc (LON:III) said today it had divested Esmalglass-Itaca, a Spanish supplier of intermediate products for the ceramic industry, to Bahrain-based investment manager Investcorp for an unspecified amount.

3i made its first entry into the Spanish firm in 2002 when it bought a 49% stake in it for EUR230m (USD282.5m) as part of a management buyout of the whole company. Later in 2004 it acquired the remaining 40% of Esmalglass’s unit Itaca, specialising in colours manufacturing for the ceramic industry.

Commenting on the deal, Oscar Gomez, director at 3i, said that Esmalglass had expanded over the last decade through internationalisation and strengthening its top market position, and its acquisition by Investcorp would back its new business plan and enhance its value.

According to Antonio Blasco and Vicente Bagan, co-CEOs of Esmalglass, the sale of the company to a “highly complementary partner” such as Investcorp provides it with significant opportunities for further international growth.

Esmalglass, which was founded in 1978, produces ceramic glazes and colours as well as inkjet inks, which are used for the decoration of tile surfaces. It has plants in Spain, Brazil, Portugal, Italy, Russia, Indonesia and China, as well as large design and technical assistance teams in all the major ceramic markets globally. In 2011, Esmalglass generated revenues of some EUR270m.