Often Partisan

End of an Era?

Yesterday Carson Yeung stepped down from the boards of Birmingham City and Birmingham International Holdings in preparation for the relisting of BIH shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange ahead of the company’s EGM.

As you can imagine, the news broke here with a lot of excitement as people saw this as the end of the Carson era. Social media was buzzing with the news – judging by the fact this site alone received over 16,000 pageviews (a new daily record) it was obvious that people were talking a lot about what was happening.

However, to think of it as the end of the Carson era is hopeful in the extreme. Despite relinquishing his status as a board member both here and in Hong Kong the fact remains that Carson is the largest single shareholder in the company. Until he sells his shares he very much still has a say in the long-term direction of the company as he has a large voting bloc in any AGM or EGM.

Bizarrely, I believe he has strengthened his position with respect to the sale of the club. Under the previous position, as a board member he was deeply involved in negotiations with respect to the club but he was precluded from voting on any proposals made about selling the club at an EGM as he had a direct financial interest in the club – as a director and because of the loan he had to the club.

With the directorship relinquished and the loan novated he no longer has that direct interest meaning that he now controls a quarter of the poll in and vote on the sale of the club. As a non-board member he cannot be involved in any board negotiation but I would suggest that his influence still may be felt judging by the amount of family members he has on the board – Victor Ma Shui Cheong, Panos Pavlakis and Matthew Chan Shun Wah are all connected to Carson by various family links.

If anything, the EGM being held as I type this is even more crucial to the future of Birmingham City. Should the proposals be passed it is now extremely likely that the shares will be relisted by tomorrow – Carson would not have stepped down if that was not going to happen. That will mean two things.

Firstly, in the short-term BIH have been told that prior to relisting that they have to tell the HKSE their intentions with respect to the club – which means we will get an immediate idea of what is going on. Longer term, with the shares relisted it changes the way BIH can operate as they can once again raise money on the markets and seek investment in the normal manner.

From an optimistic point of view, the relisting of the shares is a good thing. Because BCFC makes up such a huge percentage of BIH’s turnover, BIH have to show the HKSE that if they sell the club that they have a viable business afterwards to keep their listing. The relisting of the shares will allow them to diversify their business somewhat – there has been talk of oil exploration in Indonesia – and thus will make it easier from a regulatory point of view for them to sell. It will also mean that the company isn’t so reliant on the fortunes of BCFC – which has to be a good thing too.

On the flip side, for those who were hoping for BIH or BCFC to go under it pretty much ensures that for now neither will happen. As I have said for some time, Carson doesn’t feel any financial pressure to sell the club and thus he won’t do it for a penny less than the HK$400million (£32million) that he wants. It is possible he may sell a portion to help finannce new projects – and that investment may bring new cash into the club but in the short-term I don’t think anything will change.

As soon as news from the EGM breaks, I will publish it here. For now, if you follow @1875bluesHK on twitter you can see pictures from the EGM.

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78 Responses to “End of an Era?”

  • Ali Duncan says:

    I think we can cling to the glimmer of hope that this might be the beginning of the end. Although Carson will still be the invisible Puppet Master I think people will see this as your title suggests, an end of an era and any whiff of change gives fans hope of a brighter future.

  • Bluehobba says:

    A step in the right direction we hope kro

  • ChrisG says:

    Without jumping the gun too quickly, It does seem as though things are starting to look up at last, but I think the main aim for BCFC now is to stay in this division, then hopefully there might be a few quid available in the summer & we can start rebuilding. Here’s hoping anyway

  • Ricky says:

    If by any miracle Carson is found not guilty can he reinstate himself back on the board as top dog and continue as he was?

  • Shedrocket says:

    Spot on dan. Although still pulling the strings I think this news symbolises Carson cutting the emotional strings. It’s my belief the sale of the club is now just a case of when and not if, with BIHL going in a different direction with new projects.

  • The Francis Fake says:

    If the shares are re-listed then investment follows as per the previous announcements. Hopefully today we will discover what motivates the new investors and get an idea of those future plans. If Carson does lose his case I think this will cause a media storm in the UK as it will look like the club was bought from illicit means. this situation will heap pressure on the board of BIH and they will have to have to come up with a good PR campaign going forward if they do not intend to sell.

  • andy says:

    I think BIHL will remain the owners of the club whether people like it or not, Carson had to step down and the board members are very much his own men, so he will have a certain amount of control. This is not a bad thing at all if the company can bring investment back into the football club and allow the manager to at least do his job and not have the rug pulled from under his feet time and time again. Peter Pannu says that he will keep the supporters informed after the EGM, so we can look forward to that. Iv a feeling that the changes going on will benefit the football club and we can at last move forwards.

  • Royalblue says:

    It makes all the people predicting Administration look a bit silly now doesn’t it?

    • mark says:

      it certainly does Royalblue…………..

      • B25dave says:

        never cease to amaze what makes people happy nowadays..”i wanna be right i do in fact i am,its there on the internet look i must be right”
        .You wouldnt know whats really happening anymore than Daniel does,we are all grasping and opinionating some hope for this and some for that whilst the club we support dies a death by a thousand cuts..feel good does it ?

  • dave mann says:

    i wouldnt get to exited about the whole episode, its just carson moving is troops into place
    for the guilty verdict thats about to come and taking the pressure of himself, he might not
    be by name but hes still the major share holder and can let his mates run the show. KRO.

  • Jaffa says:

    Where was the apology!

  • thongs says:

    How about in preparation for relisting someone post a step by step guide to purchasing shares in BIHL.

    May be useful to many that may want a bit more info on the how the company is run in the future.

    May even be worth something at some point if they are bought at today’s prices.

    • almajir says:

      I’ll see what I can do today on that Thongs – I wouldn’t recommend it but it could be useful

      • A Turton says:

        Good idea Thongs.

        Al, if you can do that, I will defo buy in for a £100. Not for profit (but can always hope), but if we all brought a little, we can have some sort of say in the way things are run……. even if it is a token gesture, it would make me feel a bit better :-)

    • chas says:

      Google ‘Hargreaves and Langdon , go onto their Website and they will give you all the info on buying and selling shares. They will even buy and sell shares for you at the click of a button for (I think ) £11 a deal. It is very easy, even Blues Fans could do it . :-)

      • John says:

        To get involved, financially , with this set of directors, would be foolhardy, to say the least. At least one of them has taken a fortune out of the club and contributed nothing. The outgoing chairman has taken this club of ours from financial security in the Premiership , to a team struggling to stay in the championship. For this reason, the sooner him and his cronies are relieved of ownership of our club, the better .

  • Frankie says:

    I will be happier when he and more importantly Pannu have NO involvement in the club.
    When the ridiculous BIHL hold NO shares in Birmingham City and we are owned by straightforward people, who are visible and accountable.
    I wish Carson Yeung no ill but hope this is the beginning of the end of this interminable chapter.

  • mark says:

    imo carson is following the protocol………..

  • Macc Lad says:

    What’s all this rubbish that PP is spouting this morning about extra money coming to the club? Am I missing something here, or is he being disingenuous once again. I was under the impression that the extra funds raised were to go to BIHL and not to the club.
    Any ideas Dan?

  • Harborneblue says:

    I read yesterday BIHL were venturing into Oil exploration.
    What odds they strike oil the day after selling us!
    Carson becomes the next J.R and Hong Kong the new DALLAS lol
    Wonder whose part Pannu would have……


  • bluenose08 says:

    maybe just maybe bihl will see that oil is a better investment than a championship football team and force the sale of the club to use the money in oil.

  • andy says:

    There may be money coming into the club, in fact money HAS to come into the club, hold on a minute, have they agreed to sell Reece Brown!!!

  • b34blues says:

    macc lad ,were did you see pannu saying this ? have you a link. but if the shares are relisted and bihl can start generating funds maybe some money can be used to get some players in hopefully

  • mark says:

    how canny is Clark still top notch swansea say bye bye Michael

  • mark says:

    i wonder what direction the trust is going to take with no figure head to wave banners at???

  • sappy sad says:

    i see a large light at the end of the road. and the end of the
    road is vanishing out of sight .it doesnt matter who is in
    charge the worm is turning .the new people running the
    club sound as if they are willing to talk to blues fans and
    inform them of what is going off .and what their plans are
    .i think most fans will agree that what is not exceptable is
    the selling off of our best players every transferwindow kro

  • Enckelman says:

    Banners should still appear until BIHL have no affiliation with the club what so ever.

  • Peter bates says:

    The new people are carsons puppets and they will tell us what they think we want to here we need a complete break from this regime so we can move forward

  • Chris W says:

    As I see it, and I might be wrong, CY relinquishing his directorship has to be good in respect that BIHL can, hopefully, get their shares re-listed on HKSE and this will end fears of administration.
    CY will not have to sell any shares and actually increases his position within the group because he is the majority shareholder and now has 3 family member on the board.
    Does anyone know the total shares held now within the Carson family, CY, his son and two son-in-laws, one to be, for those who nit pick?
    We will have to see if the EGM is successful with the re-listing as people say, and if any new investment is used to get BCFC back to being a successful football club.
    Time will tell, but, to be honest, I cannot see much changing, certainly not short term and I am not filled with much optimism long term.

  • ErnieD says:

    This article IMO, correctly identifies that continuing grip of CY, at present there is no new ‘dynasty’ (let alone Dallas)..

    Currently BCFC are paying to run BIHL, the HK staff, fancy offices, meetings at top hotels, flights, expenses etc etc…and I’m not suggesting anything when I ask this question…what has CY been living off over the past couple of years since his assets were frozen?

    Oil exploration is expensive, very expensive….let’s hope we don’t have to pay for that too.

    • mark says:

      i think if you go into Daniel archives you will find that Carson has to live regardless of his frozen assets……. anyway he made a lot of winning from betting so he probably has continued with this imo i dont think he can be sanctioned from his winning……… he also negotiated his house back from the banks…………

  • dwarf1962 says:

    The Duke of Wellington once said “Change the name and kill the shame”?????????????

  • dave mann says:

    a win sgainst charlton saturday and were be 9 points of the relegation zone regardless
    of any other results….its nice to be playing away again so a win is on the cards and it
    does slightly change the subject of carson gate… from major to minor!!!…..sounds like a
    book comming there!! KRO.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Saturday’s game is an old-fashioned 6 pointer. If we win, we’ll be 9 points ahead of them and the relegation zone. If we lose, they’ll get within 3 points of us. We won’t get a better chance to increase the gap.

  • kimberley blue says:

    If Ma is the current Brother -in – law and Pavlakis is the potential new brother-in law to Carson.. will that mean potential conflict at board level?

  • AussieBlue says:

    Dan – have to differ with you on the issue of “Carson still calls the shots” because he controls 25% of the shares. He controlled 28% of them when Golds and Sullivan called his bluff in 2008 and wouldn’t give him a seat on the board, and he couldn’t call the shots then. Mate even if he had 49% of the shares he would still be a minority shareholder. I wouldn’t rely on the family connections…they have frayed before. It’s business and what we are about to see is a selling-down of Carson’s shareholding; tranche by tranche.

    There is no way on God’s Glorious Earth that any sane person will pay 32 mill for BCFC and Carson is smart enough to know that. Pannu even more so. So it’s extract what you can…share sales in Carson’s case; exorbitant fees in Pannu’s case. BCFC is still a cash cow to these people, albeit not as milk-producing as they envisaged. If anyone reading this still believes they care about the club; hitch a ride on the nearest flying pig.

    BCFC has been done over and I would delay the publishing of your book until well after the verdict; or consider a revised edition, because the worst is yet to come. Sorry mates.

    • Chris W says:

      AussieBlue, as much as I’d like to argue your point and jump on one of those flying pigs I can’t because your last paragraph sums everything up.
      When G/S/G took over the Blues they found the state of affairs far worse than they envisioned.
      I fear the same will happen if and when CY sells up.
      The real state of affairs at BCFC will eventually come out and I seriously fear will will go into free fall faster and further than Portsmouth have.
      Please someone tell me I am wrong….

      • AussieBlue says:

        Chris W – I’d truly like to be that person but the evidence outweighs my emotional attachment to Blues. I’ve seen it before in corporations – not in football – but where highly irregular corporate dealings, suspensions from share markets, failure to provide accounts, tax-haven HQs such as the Cayman Islands, nepotism and all the other things we see at BCFC & BIH – are precursors to uncovering even bigger cans of worms.
        The money trail always leads to the facts – follow the money trail(s). Depending on the judgement handed down in HK, that will be the next step for the authorities. IF money laundering has taken place, it’s a safe bet that BCFC has in some way been used in that process because a hallmark of all criminal money-laundering is that it seeks ‘cleanskins’ – reputable businesses/individuals who serve as washing machines – knowingly and unknowingly.
        If a bid is made for our club; the board will put it to shareholders, including Carson, with either a recommendation to accept or reject. If enough shareholders accept, and Carson won’t sell his shares, he could find himself in a ‘squeeze out’ – compulsory acquisition of his shares or continuing to hold while the share prices drop and drop due to the ensuing illiquid market for them.

        • Chris W says:

          I know where you are coming from and have to agree, as painful as it is.
          I think one reason that CY is holding out is because he knows no one is going to offer such a high price, in doing, so he hides the truth.
          Allegedly, the laundering charges go back before CY purchased BCFC and nothing, as yet, points to BCFC, this is not to say that we are 100% clean, unknowingly.
          Maybe after the 28th February things, hopefully will look a little clearer and BCFC can eventually begin to close this dark chapter.
          Probably the one thing that goes in BCFC’s favour is that any debts it did have have now been moved back to Hong Kong and CY,the other is the lack of investment or any monies of any substance going through the books for the last 2 years.
          It has been a painful couple of years but I feel it will get worse before we can see a full recovery, if we ever will.
          Meanwhile I look forward to Charlton Saturday with my usual optimism, a Blues win.

          • AussieBlue says:

            Yes Chris we’re in full but regrettable agreement there. Sure, CY’s charges pre-date the running of Blues but I have always been suspicious of the final 2009 acquisition price itself…where did that money ultimately come from? Was it the possible proceeds of the alleged laundering?
            Yep – 3pts against Charlton…our boys (literally!) can do it!

  • mark says:

    it good to see PP WILL be addressing the fans more often……..

  • Teej says:

    Two Chinese proverbs:
    Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness
    Unless we change direction, we are likely to wind up where we are headed.
    Cheers Dan, Blues fans need light to see in these dark times, yours is invaluable. KRO

  • mark says:

    All resolutions from today’s EGM were passed by 100%

  • dave mann says:

    and pannu as called us ” our beloved club”…. yeah really?……..if this is love ide hate
    to be his misses or his kids because if he shows them the same kind of love as this
    club then god have mercy on there soul. RIP, KRO.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Churchill once said……”Now this is not the end.It is not even the beginning of the end.But it is,perhaps, the end of the beginning”.

  • bluenose99 says:

    just sell the club

  • andy says:

    What price will be set per share on the resumption of trading,and how much does this value the club at for total number of shares in BIHL
    Can a potential new owner start buying up the remaining non CY shares and attempt a takeover that way

    • almajir says:

      You can only buy up to 10% before you have to notify the HKSE you own that much and when you get to 30% you have to make an offer for the rest.

      As for price, I’m not sure.

  • dave mann says:

    thats all vile fans can hold on to is there ” proud” history……1996 was there last major trophy,
    so any young teenage vile fan cant even remember them winning anything…..we was only 3
    years ago and still the only midland club to win a major trophy this century….Tismyk its the
    owners who are a joke not the football club itself….remember that please!!! KRO.

  • BobbyBlue says:

    Interesting thought that his position is actually strengthened. In truth, this sounds promising but when you look beyond the headline fact we are no nearer the end of the BIHL road. Still a long, long road to go yet. Unless someone can pop up with £32 million – if your book sells well, Dan?!

  • Hi
    why not change the clubs name to St Andrews? and next season make all payments through club either as above for season tickets and purchases through the club and that will force him to conform
    we the supporters will make the diff, then , hotkich

  • Blues1875 says:

    Steady on Tismyk I don’t believe for one second Birmingham City are a joke and in fact if you truely believe that we are seriously go and support someone else and don’t post your comments on here again
    True Blues fans moan and complain as I do most days about the current situation but I’ve never ever muttered the words we are a joke
    I was down the game on Saturday and have to admit I was impressed with how the blues fans stayed with the team throughout the game maybe worth you trying the same the future has to be bright

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