The Takeover

Posted on June 29, 2007 
Filed Under Blues News

The takeover has been a bit of strange episode for me. I’m so used to blogging most things that happen with regards to Blues and thus far, I’ve managed to steer clear of any such talk thanks to a succession of brilliant articles [#1, #2, #3, #4] by Grimes.

At the moment, Grimesy (to give him his full title!) is busy with a new baby and one or two other bits and pieces. We’re hoping to have his next article up over the next 24-48 hours.

Since there’s been some developments, I figured I’d have a go at writing something whilst, at the same time, trying to work out how I feel about any potential deal that may or may not end up happening.

I first heard of actual news a couple of days ago when my brother rang me up to tell me that Yeung had purchased 30% of Blues and that he was now the single biggest shareholder. My initial reaction was to hightail it to my PC and check what was what since my brother is often easily confused!

This is what I would’ve done except that I was in the middle of a very important golf game (yes, on the Nintendo Wii – they’re great fun, go get one.)  Plus, we had guests. It would’ve been rude to simply run off and ignore them. So I considered what it meant, without knowing all the facts.

The business world to me is a complete mystery. I do not understand the phrases used, the stock market or shares. Basically, anything I know about this deal has come from painstaking reading of every single article available. And that’s a lot considering that some get it wrong and some just repeat what other articles are saying. Hence, I’m not going to cite any sources here. I’m simply going by my understanding of what’s happening. If I get it wrong, I’m sure someone will correct me… and Grimesy will sweep it all up this weekend.

So my understanding at the time was that Sullivan and the Golds owned about 75% of the club – a few months earlier, Sullivan had done some hocus pocus with his shares meaning that if he ever wanted to leave, the Golds could effectively buy him out – this hadn’t been possible before.

And so there I was, stood in my living room – about to tee off on the demanding eighth hole in 14 M/S winds, a shot off the lead – trying to do all sorts of basic sums in my head to work out how he could possibly own 30% of the club with Sullivan and the Golds still there.

Eventually I got around to doing a bit of research for myself. As I now understand it, Yeung has purchased the right to 29.9% of shares in the club for around £1m? He needs to purchase these shares within the next couple of weeks. They’re made up of mainly Sullivan and Golds shares (totalling around £15m – that won’t go into the club) with Karren Brady and Roger Bannister also selling some to Yeung.

If Yeung gets 30% of shares, he’s then legally obligated to launch a formal takeover although Sully and Gold do not have to sell… as it currently stands, Yeung will become the biggest single shareholder at Blues with around 30% whilst the Golds and Sullivan will have around 23% each. This, in essence, puts Sullivan and Gold in charge since anything that Yeung might want to do could effectively be outvoted.

Right, I think that’s where we’re at. Like I say, feel free to correct me if you feel that I’m wrong. It’s my understanding of the current state of affairs.

Now I’m trying to work out how I feel about that. Well, first of all, I’m very appreciative of David Gold. According to an article in the Mail, Sullivan was willing to sell his shares but Gold convinced him to allow himself to sell the same amount so that overall, they still have the majority of shares between them.

That’s safeguarding the future of the club should Mr Yeung not be all that we’re hoping he will be. One thing’s for sure, David Gold has put almost 15 years of graft into Blues and he’s not about to let that slip at the drop of a hat. I really cannot put into words how much I appreciate him trying to look after us like that. The man is a star.

A few days ago – before we were linked with Kapo, Flamini etc – I went into confident mode. I can’t help but think the future is bright. All the way through this summer, I’ve been cautious about our return to the Premiership, the prospects of staying up, the idea of a takeover after so many years of eager stability with the Golds and Sullivan.

With Yeung possibly coming in, there’s a chance for a fresh start. I hope he’s genuine about keeping the ’spirit’ of the club since it’s been somewhat eroded in the fast moving, got-to-get-on nature of the modern game. Maybe change – no matter how subtle – is what is needed to perhaps breathe some new – less cynical – life into St Andrew’s.

I sincerely doubt that Yeung will come in and pump million after million into the club. Indeed, there’s a lot of cynics on message boards out there who wonder what the point is in having him take over if he’s no more wealthy than the current board. I happen to think that most things in life have a shelf life and for the good of the club, the current board – after doing their final kind act of making sure that Yeung is willing to do what’s best by us – need to realise that they’ve come to the end of theirs.

It’s been a remarkable 15 years and I’ll perhaps talk about that if and when Yeung takes full control and we wave goodbye to the current board. Change is a frightening prospect and as it gets closer and closer, the anxiety among fans is palpable. That’s the price of progress, maybe.

Yeung is still a mystery and still no-one seems to quite know how much money he has. The talk of personal wealth and business assets has become the talk of many a forum and excitement over a potential takeover has cooled considerably since Mr Mittal stopped being linked.

I don’t understand why that should be exactly. None of us know much about Mr Yeung or what his plans might be for Blues. Bearing in mind how well the board have done to safeguard Birmingham City over the last fifteen years, the fact that they have spent three days face to face with the man and are willing to trade fills me with confidence.

After all, David Gold has stated many times now that he would only move on once a buyer came along who could do a better job. And if David Gold says he can, I believe he can.

Comments

2 Responses to “The Takeover”

  1. Tony on June 29th, 2007 12:41 pm

    I have had a delve on the HK Stock Exchange website and found the last set of accounts for Grandtop International Holdings Ltd(also registered in that well known Tax Haven of the Caymen Islands). The market value was $HK 950, 400,000 or £61m (ouch !) now I know this guy will have other companies but the reality is the vehicle being used for the potential acquisition is worth less than the club.

    Given the investment put into ManUtd in similar circumstances we shouldn’t be too worried, but non the less we dont have a monted suitor.

  2. Tony on June 29th, 2007 12:42 pm

    sorry guys that was “minted”

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