Often Partisan

The Takeover: What Should We Expect?

With news breaking on Thursday that the longest running takeover saga in football might actually be completed in six weeks or so, I got asked the usual slew of questions on social media about who Paul Suen/Trillion Trophy Asia are, what their intentions are and whether Blues are going to spend a huge amount of money on transfers in January.

With this in mind I’ve put together this recap of stuff I’ve written in the past along with some thoughts on what I think might happen. Please note this is just my opinion; I don’t know for sure what will happen because if I did I’d actually buy a lottery ticket…

Who are behind TTA?

Currently we know two people who are definitely behind the company – Paul Suen Cho Hung and Daniel Sue Ka Lok. I wrote about Paul Suen last August and Daniel Sue while I was in Hong Kong in April/May. I understand there may be a third director involved – but until that person is named I’m going to hold my thoughts.

Both men have worked together a lot in the past buying distressed companies on the HKSE, fixing them before selling them on for a profit.

BIH fits this modus operandi well; there was an opportunity to buy into the company for a price lower than the intangible value of the stock listing allowing for a potential profit in the future.

What are their intentions for BCFC?

TTA have confirmed to the stock exchange that they will not sell BCFC for 24 months after the stock is relisted. Therefore it’s a reasonable assumption that the minimum they will do is to keep the club going at its current level so there is something of value to be sold in 2 years time.

…and as to approximately HK$120 million will be used to, when considered appropriate, acquire additional talented players who are expected to make contribution to and help enhance the competitiveness of the team significantly so as to assist the team to reach the goal of being promoted to the Premier League in the future.

The same announcement confirms that HK$120million (about £11.6mil at current exchange rates) raised from the various machinations required to get shares relisted will be made available for BCFC to bring in players. Before anyone gets excited, this is not a promise set in stone. This is an arbitrary figure given to the HKSE to justify what they are doing; it could be that less money is pumped into the team – it could be that more is.

My honest belief is that we won’t see the sort of spending that we’re seeing across the expressway – and it’s my honest belief that this is a good thing. I’m yet to be convinced personally as to the source of Tony Xia’s funds and in my opinion, I think they could be set up massively for a fall. Wang Jianlin, one of China’s richest men, is obviously thinking down the same lines too, having been quoted by the South China Morning Post as saying the following about owning a club:

“It can give you influence, but it won’t make you money. Every year you’re burning through cash – that is certain”

There is enough of a public paper trail to see how Paul Suen has made his money, and he’s not done it by being profligate with his spending. I don’t think it’s this takeover which is the important one – but who he sells it on to as I think he will once the 2 year period is up. If Blues are in the same sort of shape as they are now – relatively debt-free and without any real millstones around their neck wage-wise then the club will be an excellent investment for someone who wants to have a real go.

In short; we’ve had to show a lot of patience over the last five years. The next couple should be better; but rather than be disappointed that we’re not spending huge amounts let’s understand the current landscape and wait it out a little bit more.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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71 Responses to “The Takeover: What Should We Expect?”

  • Robin says:

    Hand on heart i do not want my club to spend crazy fees for questionable player’s & i agree with you Dan i am not convinced with that lot & him & his spending ?
    As a fan i want a steady ship & no rollercoaster ride like the last few years ….let’s hope for a happy & solid future Kro

  • mark says:

    its appears our club is going to be used has a holding fort for the next 24 months, with little or further investment made……yep its time to be cheerful

  • KinverBlue says:

    I agree that spending too much is incredibly unwise, but keeping spending at the ‘current level’ for the next 24 months could well see us relegated. We are already slowly slipping, we aren’t strengthening the required areas to any great length, and we no longer have assets to sell to raise strong capital to spend.

    There’s certainly something to be said for caution, but tightening the purse strings too much in this league will see you stagnant or go backwards. Neither of which will see the new investors able to sell the club for a profit.

    • bassman says:

      in what area have we recently not strengthened and in what way are we slipping we’re 5 games into the season we’ve only lost 1 game won two drawn two , we’ve spent less than many of the teams around us , considering the clubs plight financially ,we have to look realistically at the situation and accept that anything above lower mid table is to be expected and anything above that is happy days , its not the best situation to be in but considering how much ground we’ve lost against other teams during the takeover i’m pleased , we could quite easily have been in div2 by now had rowett not come to the club

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      I remember how bad we were the last time we got relegated and that team was far far worse than this one

  • Colin Cross says:

    Mark I think that is totally missing the point, if Blues have of a total £10m to send over 4 windows in 24 months that is far better than we have been used to. Stability is key and as Daniel points out, the next buyer is the key one, and you have to wonder what position AV/WW will be in by then, I will bet now that there will be far more disappointments there than at Blues.

    We will be under no pressure to sell, developing an excellent batch of kids, looking for 1-2 quality “In’s” each window and basically running a sensible not profligate policy.

    Onwards and upwards, steady as she goes!

  • mark says:

    well from the two home games which cost many fans around 35 pounds for wolves game, a little less for the norwich game at 20 pounds. Fans will either return or vote with their feet at the real value they think they should be getting at the Stans. I fully expected a very full stans for the wolves game, 18,000

  • ChrisG says:

    I’m as impatient as other fans to see a bit of cash splashed but I think some fans are getting ahead of themselves. My take on it is simple, wait & see what happens. As you’ve pointed out on numerous occasions Dan any money for transfers will also have to include wages, fees etc. I honestly can’t see a lot happening in january to be honest apart from extending any current loans or if Jutkiewicz & Wiggins have done well possibly trying to sign them permanently. I think next summer we will see how ambitious TTA are going to be & whether in 2 years time they will want to try & sell a premier league team or championship one.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Must say that I too was dissapointed with the crowd and the attendance against the dingles and I fear that with the early kick off and sky coverage against the vile that we will struggle to get 22,000 at stans .. Let’s just hope common sense with ticket prices prevails and with £30 limit on premiership away prices then a £20 cap should be put on championship games .. Teams like Leeds , Sheffield Wednesday should hold they’re heads in shame at the prices they charge …. And yes ime happy with the stability we will know have over the next two years and maybe bigger and better to come after that .. Ime at ease with it all to be honest ! KRO

    • Colin Cross says:

      early season games have always been historically below expectation attendances at Blues – why ?, people on holiday, or just back from holiday or going on holiday = big expense – wait til Autumn comes and if side going well attendances pick up.

      Many season ticket seats empty for one or both home games proves the point.

      • Dave Mann says:

        Hope your right Colin but it is worrying especially when now we’ve got rid of that lot !! .. As Dan said its winning and goals that bring the crowds back so after last Saturday’s good win over a promotion chasing team like Norwich and scoring three goals ( four if you count Tesches over the line goal ) then let’s wait and see but to be honest mate ime not over confident that crowds will improve to much but I hope so because it will mean we are doing well . KRO

      • mark says:

        so on 17th september next home game when the blades come you going to have 25000 and above because everyone come back from holiday………bang on mate your right…………not a chance sorry bud

        • Dave Mann says:

          Don’t you mean the Owls mark ? … But yes your right mate, our home support will not improve unless we are winning and scoring goals .. It’s not always down to money . KRO

          • mark says:

            yes mate got wrong sheffield lol ffs

          • ChrisG says:

            Dave, it’s not neccessarily whether we are doing well or not that brings in the crowd, it’s the opposition. No matter how well we are doing while we are in the championship I think the max average we’d get is 22000. If we drew someone like Man utd at home in the F.A cup you’d have a near sell out. That’s the way it’s always been mate.

          • Dave Mann says:

            Ime not dissagreeing with that mate .. Trust me I know my stuff ! :-) KRO

  • sam says:

    It’s all a step in the right direction, I don’t think the 2 years without selling makes sense. If we are close to top or bottom then it might the sale is pushed forward as movement of divisions would impact greatly on sale of club. It’s interesting that GR would have this information, as 2 years is a long time in football so is he happy to stay at Stans without mega bucks, he should be as it will really give him a chance to show his managerial merits and show what he can do albeit with moderate finances.

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      Certainly Panos would be in TTA’s confidence and then later GR when their was ‘speculation’ on him leaving. Non-disclosure agreements would likely have been signed.

  • Mark says:

    Waited years now were asked to wait a futher 2 years how wonderful

    • Mickey07 says:

      It’s not like that though is it? We are going to be much better off than we have done for the last 5 years, this bloke is sir Alan sugar compared too the Del Boys we’ve had in Peter pannu and the hairdresser…

      • Bluey says:

        And how do you know this Mickey? The machinations of TTA are so esoteric that none of us can be sure how they plan to make a profit on us. I`d hold fire on judging them until they finally break cover and give us all a view for the future. We know so little of them or their ideas and that concerns me.

  • Royalblue says:

    A well reasoned and balanced view as usual Dan. The question which puzzles me is the stated intention to keep the club for at least two years after the shares are relisted? The question is rhetorical and I am not expecting you to answer Dan. I know no one knows that but the people behind TTA but it is a curious one. Just what are they are expecting to achieve in those two years which will enhance the value of the club to a potential buyer I wonder? How binding is this assurance? I would think it is something the HKSE would take seriously and clearly the evidence is that the guys behind TTA are capable and professional business people so we would expect them to keep their word. Is the time scale intended to both reassure and attract investors by removing the uncertainty of a quick sale? I know very little about how stock markets work but isn’t more the case of potential takeovers increasing share value with the opportunity to make a quick profit?

    I guess we just have to wait and see what happens. Whatever it is it must be better than the torrid last five years we as Blues fans have had to endure. From your research Dan it is clear that these TTA guys are shrewd and able business people and no doubt know what they are doing. I just hope that they don’t make the mistake of thinking that maintaining our Championship status based on the last five funding means drip feeding is all that is required. We rode our luck with Lee Clarke in charge and used a get out of jail card with appointing GR but our form was relegation standard in the second half of last season. The line between safety and relegation is a slim one and while these guys might be experts in turning around distressed businesses football is a very different matter.

    • Pete says:

      It’s already been said that at the moment, without BCFC, BIH is nothing. I assume it’s 2 years to expand the portfolio of businesses owned by BIH before they can sell us?

      • Royalblue says:

        Good point and may be correct but will it really take two years to achieve that? I would have thought that TTA would have other assets lined up to expand the portfolio more quickly than two years? Not every company is going to be the basket case that BIHL was.nIt’s a long time to hold on to an asset which is only going to require funds going out that will only reduce their profit when they do sell unless we achieve Premier League status. Unless they surprise us or we are extremely lucky that seems very unlikely.

    • Bluey says:

      This is a question (unanswered) that i asked ages ago. What can they do in 2 years without serious investment that will make the club worth substantially more than it is today. I`m still slightly uneasy at this takeover with all the relative obscurity TTA are shrouded in.

      • Colin Cross says:

        They could hit the jackpot if mooted plans to formally make EFL the Premier League 2 come to fruition and Blues would then be very well placed to capitalise on significantly boosted TV revenues – similar to what we had in 2010/2011.

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      The ‘two years’ and ‘£10m’ were put in the EGM circular for the benefit of the shareholders on the knowledge too that it is a public document. Now if the £10m becomes £1m or £100m or the two years becomes 20 years then the shareholders could complain that they have been misled. Now remind me who these shareholders are? A bit foolish to raise a complaint about yourself. Think of the legal fees :-)

  • Rich says:

    will Panos still have the same role at BCFC or do you think he will be moved on once the takeover is completed, I would hope he is kept on

  • Gerard says:

    With TTA suck it and see , on one hand much more stability no worries about debt or court cases on the other who knows ? It is a Chinese puzzle for sure. To enhance our value as a club needs investment therefore £10 million is not a lot over 24 months however TTA do not show their true hand to anyone unlike Dr. Tony at the vile .One thing that may satisfy us Bluenoses if Panos and GR remain together at the club then they would have already received the right assurances about taking the club forward on all levels they will know what to expect to be honest i could not see either remaining at the club if they had not had the right assurances already as both continually talk about moving the club forward in all departments at a speed and construction which is based on solid foundations and can accept the occasional knock back .
    One thing for certain if TTA want a profit on their investment in Small Heath before the 2 years expires real monies will have to spent properly in the future otherwise no profit, no sale. Interesting times but hey after years of hell lets look forward with optimism starting October 17th with the cream on the cake on October the 30th 2016 that will do for this year KRO

  • ian says:

    Is rubbish China in Kong Hong TTA never went to visit to BCFC before TTA is not richest in china because TTA haven’t looking at BCFC around…. Wow proud China been takeover at wolves top 3rd richest in primers league richest!!! China takeover at WBA and Villa mmmm…. Where TTA haven’t to visit to BCFC mmm… If wideworld business will takeover at BCFC will be wonderful with blues fan and BCFC…
    BCFC chairman went to china in Hong Kong last week mmm WHY TTA haven’t to visit to BCFC ??? mmmm How up TTA can’t afford travel to BCFC in Birmingham mmmm Wait wati wait for 5 years!!!… TTA will visit in BCFC by 17th Oct ???????????…….. Welldone China takeover at wolves,Wba and Vile!!! Where where where at BCFC??????????

  • Ellblueboy says:

    If I buy a mid table championship team for a decent price with the intention of selling it on at a profit then what I need to do is get promoted. If I get the team promoted I hit the jackpot. Surely this must be in TTA’s thinking but they are unwilling to shout about spending money like the hairdresser did when he arrived. Fingers crossed.

    Also I hope our new owners recognise all the efforts Panos and his team (including GR etc) have put in over recent years and keep them on.

  • teejay says:

    i dont believe some fans of course we have to be careful are we forgetting what we have not even got out of the years of lies and corruption and yes they came with promises of big money being spent. very similar to whats happening at the shit pile and the dingles. come on please they have saved our club and extracted the biggest liars and cheats there were lets not hope for the same again, we are investing in young talent future talent not players who need to open there wallets further lets see what happens in January come on blue boys get a grip K R O

  • Little Al says:

    Whilst the end to the saga over ownership is almost finished, I think the problem for fans is the secretive nature of TTA, our hope is that once they have secured full ownership , they will be a bit more open in what their precise plan for BCFC is.

    The problem with any new owners is that they normally want their own staff appointments, Rowett’s days may be numbered along with Panos. Only time will tell .

  • Swedish Bluenose says:

    What if Paul Suen & Co already have a potential buyer in mind, would it be possible that this buyer acquires a minority share in the BIH and acts as minority owner until 24 months have passed? It would be a little bit similar to how Carson Yeung took over Blues from Sullivan & Gold.

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Like a few others I’m kind of wondering why TTA wouldn’t consider selling the club on within 2 years?.Buying a mid-table championship football club and then turning into a competitive team that can fight for promotion along with the likes of Newcastle and Villa takes a lot of financial clout.Why would TTA buy into that kind of risk in the hope of getting to the Premier league?.Surely there are safer ways to make a profit than to buy a football club these days?.Couple this with the fact that TTA have no football background whatsoever and it leaves me scratching my head to say the least.

    • Bluey says:

      Me too. I just don`t see how they`re going to make a profit worth the effort other than by promotion. But to achieve that a huge outlay would be required (probably) and that would surely be risky from their point of view. Either they`ve got more money than we think and are going for the big prize or i`m missing something. I simply can`t see how they can make serious money from a middling championship club with little prospect of going up (imho). Any ideas?

      • Hillfield Blues says:

        Well if you had a few million quid kicking around and approached a financial advisor he would tell you that buying a football club is the last thing you want to be doing.
        My guess is that getting the listing on the HKSE and then diversifying their business into a healthier position whilst keeping BCFC as a fail safe in the background before selling it on once they are in more of a secure position is probably what they are doing here.
        That is why they are giving themselves 2 years to build their HKSE listing whilst keeping the club merely competitive to sell on.
        I am quite happy for someone to come on here and tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about but it makes some sense to me.

        • Craig says:

          Interesting thoughts. Football clubs are money pits and a very high risk investment so my only thought is they are going to dip there toe in and see if by all miracles we do get promoted with small investments annually and keep panos and rowett at the helmet or do they have the possibility to sell the club before the two years if the right opportunity comes along. Maybe they had to give some time scale to satisfy hkse rules just a thought.

  • Bluesy6 says:

    Hi Little Al.
    I would say that if TTA are looking at keeping BCFC for at least two years. BCFC is a steady ship at the moment and I would be surprised if they would want to rock the boat,. I think the job that is being done by Panos and GR is commendable and is slowly but surely heading in the right direction.

  • Gerard says:

    Is Ian on this planet ? a real bluenose ? his comments are baffling , obviously English not his strong point, still it is a democracy he is entitled to his opinion, strange though it is ? or maybe he just likes throwing fuel on calm waters ? As a bluenose of 60 years plus nothing suprises me

  • Tmsblues says:

    Think the tta plan is not necessarily about increasing the value of bcfc but about enlarging the group using the highly valuable sock exchange listing that has always been a key factor in the whole deal. Some have placed a value of 10’s of millions on hkse listings. To retain the listing and recover their investment Bcfc can only be sold by Suen if the group has been diversified and considerably increased in its overall size. Over 2 yrs this will be done and bcfc sold probably as amid table champ team! ( unless they get lucky in gaining promo with such a modest team investment of 10 m over 2 yrs ). Tta provides stability and the hope of more ambitious owners in 2018.

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      Agreed.Whilst it means security for BCFC it doesn’t lend itself to a Premier league war chest.Thats more for who they end up selling us to but for now it will do compared to the last 5 years I guess.

  • drpeter says:

    It’s worth reading Oliver Kay’s (Chief football correspondent)ntelligent and passionate article in Saturday’s Times about club ownership. Focused on the plight that Blackburn now find themselves in, it raises all the issues that Blues (and others) have been facing and in many cases continue to face. Mr Kay talks about ‘corporate vandalism’ in terms of what’s been done to several clubs and in our case that includes corruption.
    We now have opporturnities at Blues – the new owners, whatever their long term motives, are unlikely to do to us what is being done at other clubs such as Blackburn and Leeds for example. They have worked long and hard to secure an asset which it seems to me they’re unlikely to run down. GR, his management team and all the players have an opportunity to make something of themselves under more stable conditions. And we the fans, young and old have an opportunity to help rebuild this great club of ours with the support that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
    None of us know the future but in the here and now we must all do our bit. As the city’s motto says ‘Forward’.

  • WayCoolBlue says:

    I Think we will all be pleasantly spritzed. KRO SOTV

  • AdamTrueBlue says:

    Am I the only one that thinks a premier league club would be harder to sell than a championship one, that still has the potential of making the big time? If the club did get promotion, why sell it on, when you have the guarantee of millions? I am more interested, in the short term, of the new sponsers Tta are going to introduce to us. Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    I agree Adam, Blues are great value for money , big city club , massive fan potential , premier league experience and a major trophy this decade so buying us know while we are in transition and in the championship is a massive bargain in my eyes … Once we get back in the premier league our value will treble so TTA must be surely thinking of investing over these two years and trying to get us promoted because if they do they can and will make a fortune if and when they do sell us on . KRO

  • Mitchell says:

    What a vast number of us fans can never fathom out is why we are never an attractive outfit to buy. Yes we have TTA and we hope for good things ahead, but over the years for some reason our club which carries the great name of the second city,never appears a juicy acquisition for a rich magnate to snap up.Perhaps we will never know but we cannot help but look at our three neighbours and just wonder why. On a totally different subject-since the return of OP replies-a dear favourite has yet to surface. Dave knows who I am referring to. Just hope he is well and only taking a brief rest.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Yes Mitchell let’s hope he’s fine , is wife and family are well and we hear from him very soon . KRO

  • Charlie says:

    Why all the negativity? Least we rid of Carson. TTA has promised around10M initially. To make profit on us they need to turn us into a Prem team. Buy us for 30M, invest 30M to get us up. Sell us for 100M as Prem team as values with new TV money have gone up. They walk away with 40M profit and we have a Prem team. I don’t think blues need huge investment to go up, GR is the right type of manager, knows how to pick up bargain players just look at Morro, Klief and Shotton, what we paid and what they worth now? A few mil a player on right player all you need. Che we paid 2M, if he keeps going could be one of the best AM out of the Prem. I can only hope and dream what TTA will bring, but positivity is better than negativity! KRO

  • Dave Mann says:

    My outlook also Charlie , reality yes but with a positive vibe . KRO

  • Gerard says:

    To Ian and others i did not realise about his deafness my sincere apologies for my ineptitude.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I know how you feel Gerard , I’ve apologised a few times myself so I think Ian will be fine with it , it takes sincerity to do it and you have that . KRO

  • Cynic says:

    Maybe I missed this in the above posts.

    Why sell the business when you can loan “secured” money to it at 8%?

    £14,000,000 wasn’t it ? Over 18/36 months,

    By my calculations that potentially £3.3 million. A rather nice return for doing nothing!

  • Gerard says:

    Thanks Dave- in my opinion all Blues fans are unique , different to all the rest, simply the best i say again we have to do twice as much to get half the credit regionally and nationally , i had an interesting conversation with Richard Wilford of WM the other day he is the most decent towards the Bluesbut even he will not accept that WM football phone in stands for Wolves and Vile radio obviously he had to protect his colleagues namely Franksie and Reagan but that radio station is a disgrace with its total anti BCFC feelings. Unfortunately i live in the sticks out in Shropshire and have no alternative.

    Blues wit and gallows humour is simply the best of all the clubs long may it remain so.

    regards and KRO Gerard

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    It’s Radio WolverhaMpton

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