Often Partisan


Social Media was ablaze again yesterday as first Tom Ross (in the Birmingham Mail) and then Mark Regan of Radio WM broke details of a UK-based consortium bidding for Birmingham City. Both talked of a bid of £32million for the club from a consortium of backers which included (as per Tom Ross) one or a couple of Blues fans.

I’m not going to talk about the veracity of what was reported by Tom or by Mark as I’m sure both will insist that they have the sources and documentation to back up what they have reported yesterday. There has been enough rumour doing the rounds that the club have been speaking to interested parties for me to believe that what they are reporting is accurate.

What I’m more concerned about is whether reporting the bid is actually the right thing to do. From reading Tom’s column in the Mail I’m sure he’s doing it for what he thinks is the right reasons – he wants to put pressure on Peter Pannu to sell the club to a UK consortium as Tom doesn’t want any new owners of BCFC to be foreigners – something he feels resonates with the everyday fan on the street. I’m sure Tom feels that by publishing something in the newspaper and getting a story out there it will help to force BIH’s hand somewhat in making them make a decision.

In absolute fairness to Tom, he didn’t go into specific details. Mark Regan at the BBC did though, talking about what the project had been named, when a decision was to be made etc – and reported that he got it from an email sent to Pannu to a member of the UK consortium. That can’t have gone down well in Hong Kong as those kinds of emails are supposed to be  utterly private and confidential – for one to be leaked to the press is almost unforgivable and for Mark to have said on air that he had got it from an email has no doubt dropped someone, somewhere in it from a great height.

Releasing any info into the public domain isn’t how business is done in China. Firstly, for legal reasons BIH are obliged to tell their shareholders first of any negotiations to sell the club before informing the general public. Secondly, as I have published before it is considered indiscreet to put information out in the public domain about a bid to put pressure on a company and as Gianni Paladini will testify, it won’t help any consortium’s cause here whatsoever – if anything, it will hinder it.

Putting pressure on Pannu isn’t the way to go either. While Peter Pannu is no doubt doing his job efficiently and diligently by talking to interested parties about the sale, he isn’t the only one doing so – Panos Pavlakis and Victor Ma Shui-cheong are also doing the same thing as their job demands. None of them have the final say so though – as is right and proper in business all that the three of them can do is negotiate the best deal possible before going back to the BIH board to get it approved there. BBC WM’s Mark Regan has reported that there is to be a board meeting on April 23 which I would guess would discuss the bids available before choosing a preferred bidder that the company would want to work with – which would then be announced to the HKSE as is right and proper.

What worries me is that damage has been done to this bid now; not necessarily because I want a UK bid to succeed but because I want the best bid to succeed and it could reduce the options available to the BIH board. I believe now that the bid as discussed by Mark Regan on Radio WM could be dead in the water – and all because someone wanted to put information into the public domain, to report an exclusive. As much as it hurts us to be patient – we’ve been patient for long enough many would argue, and a crumb of comfort every now and then is nice – we have to continue being patient for now and letting things take their course. There is no doubt in my mind it’s not a case any more of IF the club is sold, it’s now a case of WHEN. I hope that the BIH board can finalise a deal before there are more hiccups like yesterday.

nb as always, be careful when commenting please – slagging off the current owners because you don’t like them achieves nothing and accusing them of doing things that they shouldn’t have will only cause further legal issues. If in doubt, don’t post it.

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62 Responses to “Patience”

  • iSabreman says:

    Worrying about how business is done in China seems a bit ironic given the dire situation BCFC has found itself in over the last few years.

    Does anyone worry about that ?

    At the end of the day the highest bidder will win I would expect. Trouble is will that be this year or next ?

  • Kaje says:

    It’s always a concern to hear that the media may be indirectly fouling up bids for the club, we’ve been owned by the current regime for long enough to understand how they do business and what they react badly to. I can understand a news source wanting to break an exclusive story, but not at the expense of the club.
    If this bid does fall apart thanks to Radio WM, I would urge the consortium to seek legal advice and take any available action against the station/BBC.

    • Andy says:

      I don’t think the consortium would have much of a leg to stand on in suing BBC WM.

      If Regan *is* in possession of an email, it will almost definitely have been leaked to him rather than have been obtained illegally. As far as I remember from media law lectures (rather a long time ago now), there’s no law against the reporting of such emails, even if it has a detrimental effect on person(s) or an organisation.

  • Matt says:

    Don’t care where they’re from I want the best because of who they are and what they want to do with the club couldn’t care less if they weren’t English. Tom trying to be a fan pleaser again thinking he is speaking up for the common bluenose by saying he wants an English board.

  • Ali says:

    Bit unfair to automatically assume a foreign owner would be bad. Do remember our previous much maligned owners were British. That being said, would be fantastic to have an couple of Blues fans in any consortium planning a take over.

  • Blooflame says:

    On the issue of Foreigners, I don’t think Tom Ross should influence that one way or another. This club is, in reality, on the brink of extinction. We could be folded up in a breath….I’m sure there would be sighs of relief in HK if it was. Work it out!!

    I for one wouldn’t complain if the Sheiks of Man City decided they were deluded and really meant to buy BCFC. I want to see meaningful success at Blues before I die mate and not live from hand to mouth year in year out. We are in no position to cherry pick. Whoever does buy BCFC should actually have a plan and fans must be patient and supportive. As lons as there is a Youth Policy working with local Schools / Teams there is a future for home grown players, it worked in Manchester and at the Vile!

  • Chris W says:

    You would have thought that Tom Ross and the media (W M) would have A) learnt their lesson from the Paladini circus & B) Know the business etiquette in the Far East?
    Though it is good news that discussions are taking place, all the fans want is something concrete to pick up our hopes and a reason to believe that the club is about to move forward, just a comment posted on the official web site from the directors would suffice. It would stop any speculation leaking out
    A lot of the problems with BCFC and the fans has been the wall of silence from the board members, in Hong Kong it might be the norm to say nothing, however, in the UK it is not, we believe in some transparency and openness, something that Mr Peter Pannu should be aware of over the past 4/5 years.

  • Martin Grainger says:

    “he got it from an email sent TO Pannu TO a member of the UK consortium”
    It says ‘to’ here twice. To clarify, was it an email to Pannu from the consortium or from Pannu to the consortium?
    Thanks again, welcome back, and well done on all your work over the last thankless month :)

    • OftenPartisan says:

      I think it was from the consortium… but Regan would know for sue

      • Art says:

        Given the Paladini affair last year I’m at a total loss to understand why the media have broken the discloser terms and have perhaps scuppered a genuine bid.

        Are they that desperate for ratings?

        • Agent McLeish says:

          It’s news mate and that’s what journo’s do. I can’t see it scuppering a sale though. BIHL would not be selling if they didn’t need to.

          • Art says:

            Hopefully you’re right but news like this can have a serious impact on the share price and this is why the HK stock exchange should receive formal notification from the board.Speculation.leaks and rumours tend to muddy the waters and add confusion and complexity to any potential bid -hence the “non disclosure clause”.

          • Tony says:

            Off hand i cant think of a bid for any club that has not had prior publicity,Surely Yeung and Pannu must be at the desperation stage by now.and will have to sell.

          • gerard says:

            re potential takeover – as I have just returned from a business trip catching up on events- as its good Friday and eggs is eggs at Easter, Pannu and co will do what is best for them re any bid not for us- so regardless of all the speculation any acceptance of a bid will be in BIHL interest not ours for sure and a word of caution what ever the announcement is on after the 23rd April 2014- we maybe non the wiser as it could be another smoke and mirrors scenario-personally I doubt it but knowing the past antics of PP do not hold your breath.
            Which brings me on to WM radio or should it be re-named black and gold radio as its main presenters favour Wolves-if you analyse the air time over the last 9 months given to our clubs I am sure Wolves gets over 50 per cent- it only reports on our club when its pessimistic or takeover news in the main, a lot of bluenoses simply cannot abide the one-eyed presenting from them and Mark Reagans leak was first and foremost to score him browny points over his rivals and a feather in the cap for WM -I do not think he particularly cared one way or the other what effect it will have on any potential takeover- you may disagree/

          • Chris W says:

            Regarding your comments re WM I travel from Nottingham to and from games both home and away, I too am fed up listening to the same Wolverhampton and Albion fans drone on and on.
            As much as I dislike Collymore at least he gives us Blues fans some air time after matches.
            Even when they are reporting live from St Ans they are moaning about the buffet, atmosphere even the toilets, don’t think I have ever heard anything positive spoken on WM radio about Blues.

  • Mezz says:

    To be honest it’s business, how the story was leaked or who did it shouldn’t stop any proper bid. Now everyone involved are are “Business people” so simply a story in the paper will not stop anything. Money talks at the end of the day and if all parties get what they want then common sense surely will shine through and no matter what is reported in the press will have no effect.

    • OftenPartisan says:

      Tell that to Paladini mate.

      • Alex T says:

        Paladini offered 10 bob and half a packet of Hubba Bubba, so if the values quoted are accurate (£32m) then this is a completely different proposition

        • Dan H says:

          Paladini is a chancer. He used to be a waiter at an Italian Restaurant in Birmingham and brokered deals as an interpreter with Villa and Bari for Paul Rideout and David Platt. Then he became a sports agent, he’s just a middle man. Blues need genuine money for cashflow to support a well run business. Paladini doesn’t have any money and I hope he gets nowhere near the Blues

      • Mezz says:

        True but Paladini never came up with the dosh, been said many times he never would pay the asking price

  • Paul Carter - Voice of Reason says:

    Well done to Mark Regan and Radio WM for letting a Blues know that there may be something afoot. Fed up of all this non disclosure bs. If the deal is right the exposure won’t matter. Thanks again WM

    • OftenPartisan says:

      Thing is Paul, will you still be happy if this has killed the deal (which it could well do?)

      It might be “non disclosure bs” to you but it’s the way the business world works and we have to accept that.

      • Mickey07 says:

        Dan,what I don’t understand is why would bihl want the deal dead?or pannu gets the hump?they are in the do do bigtime and in no position to call the shots if they are desperate for money as believed…it’s either take it or leave it/or go under…

        • OftenPartisan says:


          Methinks you might have missed the point. There are other bids on the table – which might be financially better (according to Mark Regan) – so trying to push a UK bid isn’t going to help that bid is it, which contradicts the point if you’re pushing for UK owners…

  • Blueboy88 says:

    BIHL & Pannu are not in any position to play hardball.
    Two choices sell it or lose it.

  • Bluepenguin76 says:

    Guys I will believe it when I see it!!!. I don’t want to be negative, just not counting any chickens. Its been so up and down with BIH, i will only believe it when someone is holding the flag aloft sitting in the Kop.

  • Agent McLeish says:

    Just playing devils advocate. How do we know the info was not leaked by a BIHL employee? Anyway, somebody must have leaked it for a cynical reason.

  • mark says:

    To be absolutely fair to them the bcfc ladies are doing incredibly well from Carson funds….

  • Art says:

    Has the share price been affected by these rumours?

  • Euston 9:15. says:

    The sale of the house of fraser was leaked to the press.
    The Chinese company Sanpower bought it for £480 mill.

  • Steve says:

    I don’t think this will scupper the deal.They must be desperate for money now.There is no more money to make out of the Blues and they are supposedly offering the asking price.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    I have been involved with many bids and there is always a non disclosure and confidentiality clause that every individual on the bid team has to sign. The media will always report whatever is disclosed to them. Logic suggests the person who disclosed the information comes from the sellers NOT WM they were recipients. If a member of the bid team disclosed, they would have the intelligence to know that such action would negate their bid.

  • mark says:

    Tom wants to put pressure on pp sadly it Carson who will decide if he wants to sell??
    Secondly any prospective buyer would be under a disclosure know doubt???
    Sadly rumours are the root of the problem without signifant evident to back this up imo

  • mark says:

    Where is the evident that any bids have been accepted?? Again heresay. It appears everyone wants to be heroes in trying to find bidders for bcfc. The only heroes are the ones who chose to go and happy in supporting their team and manager what ever the predicament……..kro :-)

  • mg says:

    The current owners need to understand that I like many others won’t renew our season tickets until they sell the club. Money talks.

  • nuneatim says:

    We have a free press who can report any news they see fit as long as it has been obtained by legal means. For me, that there are so many of us desperate to see an end to this sorry farce makes the idea that WM and the Mail shouldn’t cover developments for fear of upsetting Pannu and his cronies ridiculous. In reality, Palandini simply wouldn’t match their ludicrously inflated valuation, but surely the cold winds of financial reality mean they can’t keep up the act much longer? DNM & KRO.

    • OftenPartisan says:

      So in other words, you think its a good thing that news is covered because you’re desperate for change, even if covering that news means change won’t happen?


      • nuneatim says:

        So in other words, you think its a good thing in a democracy that news isn’t covered just so it doesn’t offend foreign business sensibilities and give them an excuse for their avarice that means change won’t happen?


        • bluseychris says:

          TBH the press need to have restraint at times. In the case of Blues this is one of them. Of course it could all be hot air, which afaiac it is.

        • OftenPartisan says:

          Yes, it’s called responsibility. Sometimes things have to be kept under wraps – not just in this arena.

          Change will happen mate, but maybe not in the way you hope it will if people try and force it. I repeat – look at Paladini. Messed around for over a year by BIH because he went to the press first off – lesson to be learned there.

  • DaveM says:

    1. No potential takeover will happen until it’s confirmed what league we will be in next season as this obviously effects the value of the club. No serious bidder will make a move until then.
    2. No serious bidder will accept buying the club in stages as BIHL prefer to stop themselves being seen as purely a shell company on HKSE, leading to a probability that BIHL will prefer a HK or Chinese bid. Unless bidders offer silly money which would give BIHL serious positive money to trade with, which isn’t going to happen.
    3. If BIHL are serious about moving into the Indonesian Oil and Gas exploration market, this requires serious money for licenses, resources for exploration etc. Said money from serious bidders may allow BIHL to position itself in the energy market and not be seen purely as a shell company.
    4. In any potential takeover bid, bidders and the media always jump the gun. That’s life.
    5. Face is indeed a serious factor in Asian business. The reality is that BIHL currently have little or no face left after Yeung’s trial and conviction. Face would be restored if BIHL can raise decent capital and move into another business.

  • Ray Pugh says:

    Lets get down to stans and get behind the team!KRO

  • mark says:

    Hi Daniel slightly off topic will have the opportunity to reply to your previous blogs done just asking the question thanks mark :-)

  • iang says:

    agree totally with this blog and its sentiments. Have the media not learnt from last time, I would rather be kept in total ignorance and then happily surprised once deal that is total tied up is announced
    On owners I want those who are the most ambitious for the club and if it was a choice between the type of owners Man C have the success it has brought vs a consortium of Blues fan with less financial clout I would go the Man C type owners each and every time
    Fingers crossed for new owners, new investment, a new manager (above all else!) an by definition for the first time in a long time new hope which is what we all need

  • Rhees says:

    I wouldn’t object to any owners that were genui e

  • Rhees says:

    How accurate are the reports of interested parties or is it all rumour

  • Art says:

    Very good response but if I was a potential buyer I would not want the value of my bid to be made public until such times it was excepted by the board.Going public at this stage is just creating a “Dutch Auction” and could easily jepodise a genuine bid.

    I see no value in holding public negotiations and as Paladini found to his cost it does not go down well with the Chinese or any other business which is subject to a takeover.

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