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Newcastle United's Vurnon Anita (R) challenges Leeds United's Ross McCormack during their English League Cup soccer match at St James' Park in Newcastle, northern England September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis
(Reuters) - The Middle East-based owners of Leeds United said they were talking to other potential investors after a takeover led by the club's managing director collapsed on Thursday.
The latest ownership twist will enrage fans of the former English champions, now playing in the second tier.
Supporters had hoped that new owners would be in place in time to buy players in the January transfer window to fund a promotion challenge.
"Our aim has always been to attract investment partners and we are currently speaking to a number of parties regarding the acquisition of shares," owners GFH Capital said in a statement.
GFH bought the club from former Chelsea owner Ken Bates in December 2012 but had planned to cut their stake to only 10 percent by selling out to British investors led by Leeds managing director David Haigh.
Haigh, who joined the club after the GFH takeover, said his partners had failed to put up the money they had pledged.
"Some of the consortium's backers ultimately didn't feel able to deliver the financial backing we had hoped was agreed to take the club forward," Haigh said in a statement.
British media reports suggest Italian Massimo Cellino, owner of Serie A club Cagliari, has emerged as a potential bidder for Leeds who are 12th in the 24-team Championship.
(Writing by Keith Weir; editing by Tony Jimenez)
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