Sheffield United: How High Court decision might impact upon one party hoping to invest in The Blades
ALK Capital, the investment vehicle used by a North American consortium hoping to buy into Sheffield United, are believed to still be determined to push through a deal despite a judge's decision to hand HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud control of the Premier League club.
The Star understands the group, which includes former Real Salt Lake president Alan Pace, remain interested in holding talks with the Saudi Arabian royal after previously reaching an agreement, albeit in principle, with his fellow co-owner Kevin McCabe.
Delivering his verdict at the High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Fancourt ruled McCabe must sell his 50 per cent stake in Blades Leisure Limited to Prince Abdullah, who owns the remaining half of United's parent company, for the sum of £5m.
It was significant that Pace, together with a number of his colleagues, watched Saturday's game against Southampton from the directors' box at Bramall Lane. McCabe, whose family are described as being heartbroken by the outcome of the three week long hearing, and Yusef Giansiracusa, Prince Abdullah's lawyer and member of United's board, also attended United's meeting with Ralph Hasenhüttl's side.
Had Mr Justice Fancourt ruled in McCabe's favour, moves to hand ALK a controlling interest would have begun almost immediately. Indeed, the Scarborough based businessman publicly confirmed his position after giving evidence in London.
Reaching agreement with Prince Abdullah, who could look to the Middle East for extra backing, is likely to prove more complex. But ALK, whose backers also include sporting consultancy expert Dave Checketts, are thought to be ready to press ahead with their bid, tabling a series of proposals to the 54-year-old.
Pace, who helped Checketts establish Real Salt Lake as one of Major League Soccer's best-known franchises, is a major player in the world of finance having spent over a decade working for Citi; an investment bank and financial services corporation based in New York.
Checketts worked for the National Basketball Association and New York Knicks before founding SCP Worldwide, a sports, media and entertainments firm. He has also served as president of Madison Square Garden but is focused on his role at the Mormon Church's mission in London at present. Checketts began a three year posting there 14 months ago.