Often Partisan

Deals and Chinese Mindsets

During the last forty-eight hours, Matthew from Tilton Strugglers and myself have spent talking to people connected with Birmingham International Holdings and trying to put together the pieces of what is happening with respect to a takeover of the football club.

Due to the nature of the discussions, I regretfully can’t really talk about specifics due to legal and confidentiality reasons. I know that people want answers and want transparency and in truth I want that too but I have to be careful to ensure that I don’t get sued or endanger any deal.

However, I can talk in generalities. The truth is any sale is going to be a fraught, complex process – not just due to the suspension of BIH shares of the issues that have been found within the company but also because of the trial of Carson Yeung on money laundering charges. Anyone wishing to buy the club needs to satisfy themselves that when the deal is done it’s done completely – that there are no untied ends that could come back and hurt them down the line – and it appears that that is a real issue.

Whilst there is no doubt that there are people who want to buy the club and have taken a serious interest I have the impression that it’s not been as simple as emailing Pannu an offer and taking it from there. I have the undeniable impression that for anyone to do the deal they would need to spend a fair bit of time here sorting out the legal and financial issues – probably much more so than St Andrews. It seems a bit too simple to say that the problems involve working with a Chinese mindset but the truth is it is that way; if there is anything the last few days have told me it’s that things are completely different out here and any attempt to do a deal in a Western way just wouldn’t work.

In that light, I’ve also come to the conclusion that my thoughts on protest were accurate. Whilst it might help people vent their frustration and make them feel better I think ten thousand Blues fans could do a naked conga around the Bullring without an eyelid being raised here. It was abundantly clear from speaking to Mr Liu yesterday that he had no idea what was going on at Blues – he seemed shocked when I told him how much money Nikola Zigic got paid for example. However I have to be truthful and admit I’m a little stumped as to what fans can do to speed up the process and it’s something I’m going to reflect on in my remaining time here to try to find an answer.

What it comes down to is this – today I was asked if I was a betting man what would I put my money on. I had to answer that I don’t think I’d put my money on anything because despite everything I’ve seen, I’ve not seen any definitive answer or way out. I don’t think it’s going to be quick and I don’t think it’s going to be easy – I suspect we’re going to have some pain yet and I just hope that it won’t be too much. I’m sorry if that’s a pessimistic viewpoint but until I see otherwise it’s the only one I can honestly have.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials


55 Responses to “Deals and Chinese Mindsets”

  • Vas says:

    Any pictures?

  • Keep Right On says:

    Thank you once again for an honest approach to the sad state of affairs you and all other Blue noses face but as I always say to everyone “Keep Right On”

  • Blackie says:

    no surprises here

  • thongs says:

    You speak of a Chinese mindset and any deal being different to a deal being made in the west, but i’m wondering how many of these kind of deals have you been involved in to accurately compare.
    I feel this piece is a tired just for the sake of it piece. Stop putting pressure on yourself and go and have a beer instead.

    • Blooflame says:

      Have to agree.. take yourself off to Ned Kellys or One Penny (Good nightclub), I reckon you’re drunk and still staggering around Wan Chai!! Have a good time man

      • almajir says:

        I’m not mate.

        Was in a meeting tonight until midnight, been busy. We have had a couple of nights out, but only after 12 hour days working here…

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    Out of all this, at least it is heartening to see that there are elements within BIH that are willing to talk and want to know what is going on back in Brum. Also, it is good to hear that there is interest in the club and there are potential suitors out there.

    I think it’s fair to say that we have accepted that there is still more stages to go before we get to where we want to be. But it would be pleasing and a great relief to find out whether going through this process will bring about the required result. What is the most important thing, is whether we can attract the ‘right’ type of owners this time and move forward without ever having to go through this level of uncertainty again.

    Keep up the good work gents.

  • casio says:

    Great website, love reading your articles. Keep up the good work.

    KInd of cheeky, as its not my place to ask, but any chance you could look into adding a rating system for comments, so they can be voted up or down?

    This website is now the best source of information and speculation about blues and receives so many comments that sometimes its hard to find time to read them all.

    just a suggestion, as obvously i dont know if this is even an option..

    thanks, and like i said earlier, keep up the good articles and the great website :)

  • Knowle Blues says:

    Keep up all the good work and communication – investigative journalism at its best well done lads. BCFC Are desperate for new owners and major investment asap…. Birmingham are forging some major business links with China (through the motor industry). Its a new growth market has an expanding economy with a appetite for Western culture. Surly a shroud savvy business man with an eye for a deal can recognise the synergies and invest in the and long term potential of BCFC? KRO

    • Daddyblue says:

      Why would somebody in a shround want to buy blues even if he is a shrewd buisness type ;)

      • KeeprightCroydON says:

        Why would anybody want to buy any football club? Mostly the people who do, do so because they can – a kind of rich man’s toy. Unfortunately in many cases, there are no sound business reasons, or indeed footballing reasons. So they fail to run it it a sound business and fail to take into account the needs of their main stakeholders – the fans. Then when things go wrong, they lose sight of reality. This is what has happened with our club. An owner who does not appear to know anything about running a business, a football club or care about the fans.

        He may have or may not have made his fortune some time ago (hopefully the court case will show if he was truly a successful businessman, and if so, how he actually made his fortune – that has always been a big unanswered question to me), but most of his and his associates’ business decisions on behalf of the club have been very poor. This makes me wonder if he and his associates are proper businessmen.

        Do they know how to run a football club? Not sure, but fortunately they appear to let the people at the club do this for them, and they are going a great job in trying circumstances in keeping the club as a going concern.

        As for caring about their largest stakeholders, the fans, I’d let you decide on this. I know what I think.

        • Knowle Blues says:

          There are plenty of business men in China that could throw money at BCFC and treat it as their new toy.. China has the fastest growing economy and is predicted to overtake the US economy / GDP as early as 2016… I for one wouldn’t turn away a Man City type of take over, its a sorry reflection on our Beautiful Game and how it was sold out years ago due to the EPL and Sky Sports. We have just to roll with it or except and continue as we are…

      • Knowle Blues says:

        Hahaha well spotted Daddy!!

  • mark Shand says:

    It is unfortunately what I feared would happen – in that PP is not in any hurry to sell up bearing in mind his fees for all the consultancy he is doing… And with the apathy (concerning our club) that exists in China, because no one actually cares, or even knows, what is going on, then none of the above are likely to be making any hurried sales, as there is no urgency to purchase (from a purchasers point of view). My concerns also continue into next season, as I am fearful as to where we will end with Lee Clarke in charge. He will have no money to spend, as any money generated will probably be swallowed by “Pocket Expenses” & “Consultancy Fees”. PP will not want to sell unless he is involved in the group taking over in one form or another. Nice bright future for the forseeable.. Its a good job that they Football League do proper “Fit & Proper Persons Test” isn’t it..??!!! Season Ticket holder for 25 Years and it doesn’t get any easier does it..!!

  • Mickey07 says:

    Cheers mayor,but with this blog it totally goes against what Tom Ross has been saying over the last month regarding a deal “is not too far away” his words not mine,he even said this on his Monday night sportsbar phone in where you can listen to it on the play again service,is this a case of you got your contacts and Tom has his?because your are both saying different things at present and as fans we only want what’s best for the club.all very confusing.

    • Agent McLeish says:

      Yes, that what I was thinking as well. I think it sums up the current situation and the constant misdirection from PP. Also think that mark’s comments are spot on – only PP seems to benefits from these delays and will cling on as long as possible.

  • Karsten says:

    Amajir you seem to be developing a skill for producing articles that are bereft of any facts, unfortunately this puts you firmly in the Fiction list. To be fair though you have uncovered just how incredibly stupid Mr Liu is, no wonder he tries to stay incognito. He has millions of pounds invested and the only information he gets is by reading the newspapers. I assume he probably inherited his wealth from his disappointed parents, unless of course he also managed to make £80M out of the same investments that Yeung is currently on trial for.

    KRO HK

    • Trevor Honnor says:

      This is a blog mate, not a newspaper where everything needs to be factual and backed up by quotes.

      A blog entitles the author to publish thoughts & opinions from time to time.

      I found this article very interesting as I myself have wondered if anyone out in HK has any concept of what is happening at St Andrews.

  • Stevesy76 says:

    I guess this confirms the sad realisation that anybody willing to make an offer for the club has some messy work on their hands. The only clear way out (to my simplistic mind) would be if a third party (i.e. administrator) were able to do the difficult work upfront in order to make the club a more attractive prospect for any investor. But I’d be more than happy to be happily be corrected on that.

    As always great reporting, sounds like you’re working hard out there…make sure you get some sightseeing in as well!!

  • Andrew Whalley's Skoda says:

    Hi Daniel. I’m sure that Peter Pannu is aware you are in HK. Have you tried to make any contact with him at all? If not, do you intend to?

    • RichardM says:

      Do we think we’ll ever see Peter Pannu in Brum in the near future? Personally, I would fear for his personal safety if he ever turned up at St Andrews again!

  • Oldbluenose says:

    Well done so far guys, !!. 2, points I would like to claify,?.

    1, If I understand you correctly, ?. NO sale can be considered whilst B,I,H. are still under suspension,
    Does this state hinge on Carson Yueng’s, courtcase soley,?. or could B,I,H. be returned to trading again without awaiting the outcome of his trial, ?.

    2, If Carson Yueng, IS found guilty, — BUT — intends to appeal, !!. would that void any possible sale until either he is cleared or finally prroved guilty even after appeals, ?.

    Finally, So far, — So good, you guys are getting some believable news for us, — THANKS.

    • DoctorD says:

      No – I think what Al is saying is that a sale could in principle go through but as there are so many uncertainties surrounding BIHL, it’s unlikely the club will, in practice, be sold in the immediate future.

  • DoctorD says:

    I can’t believe Mr Liu was shocked at just how much money Zigic was earning. Clearly the board in Hong Kong see or saw BIHL as just an investment opportunity and have minimal oversight of what’s going on. In one way that’s good as it means good old BCFC can just get on with things with minimal interference. On the other, it means they have no idea about how precarious the situation is for any club in the Championship that is struggling after having dropped out of the Premiership promised land.

  • tamuffblue says:

    Great work as per usual !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and I believe your assesment of the shit of situation is bang on the money – But yet again the same old monsters rear their ugly heads 1) Premier / FA fit and proper tests for owners 2) the local medias activity or none as it appears journalistic probings on the mega rich hairdresser at the time !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I firmly believe that it is due to the negligence of these establishments that we are in this mess KRO SOTV

  • romanblue says:

    Well done mate.Well i’m even more depressed than i was before reading that.Our club will be systamacally eroded like the sea of time.this will be the slowest death,welll eeerrrrr,since the last one.depressing isnt a good enough word.kidderminster will be our local derby.

  • Bombay Blues says:

    Really admire your efforts great job. My only comment is that I don’t think any acquisition is ever easy and they all have their complexities. I suspect BCFC is fundamentally no different. Once again well done to you and Tilton Strugglers!!!

  • bluenose08 says:

    Interesting that we get more information from you guys than the football club !
    Keep digging who knows what else you will find. k.r.o.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    One of the most important and fundamental factors within the sale and purchase process is due dilligence. With the current state of CY, BIH and BCFC and the total inability of the world’s media resources to garner a semblance of what is going on, then the purchase of the club by new unassociated parties any time soon is rendered impossible due to the abysmal state of recent and historical accountancy. If you cant do due dilligence you cant make an offer!

  • chris says:

    As i’ve said before, i can see them holding onto the club till the parachute payments runs out, so two more seasons of this while they milk the club with their high wages or depending how you see it, taking back their loans.
    They will continue to sell players so the club doesn’t fall into administration, so they can keep taking these payments.
    The only way to apply pressure is by not going to games or some sort of protest (e.g. letter campaign), by fans, the Blues Trust, local media and politicians to the FA and Football League.
    We need people in higher places to help via influence and exposure in the national media, so we can get more people on board like David Conn and Ian Danter.

    • RUPERT says:

      The only way is for people to vote with there feet dont buy from the clubshop and def dont buy season tickets. Season ticket money is a great way for pannu to pay his company Asia rays and I think we all know who some or a lot of that money goes to dont we ?

      • Agent McLeish says:

        Although I can understand your sentiment, the only people your suggestion actions would affect are the club, staff and fans. CY & PP won’t care.

    • DoctorD says:

      To be honest, if they don’t know who Zigic is or how much he’s earning, I’m sure they don’t know the ins and outs of parachute payments.

  • Nicholas says:

    Thanks for all your efforts guys! It’s much appreciated.

    Unfortunately, I think there is very little we can do. If we vote with our feet then I’m sure they will get money from another part of the club/team.

    Ultimately for me, It’s not the teams/managers fault so I will be there to cheer on the guys who wear the shirt. I probably won’t be popular on here for saying so, but If I truly believed it would have a positive long-term effect for the club, I might boycott for a bit but realistically, I don’t think it will.

    I was here before they came and I’ll be here after they leave, regardless. Keep right on.

  • James says:

    Some great articles from HK this week; interesting stuff and hopefully an end will come to the CY/PP/BIH saga.

    With regards to the earlier comments on Tom Ross – his heart is in the right place but unless it came from this site or Tatts, it’s just hearsay

    I would also be against any form of protest as this will only hurt the excellent staff at BCFC.

    Keep Right On

  • b34blues says:

    the parachute payments finish for blues this summer so no more payments for us..

  • Andy S says:

    I’m quite upbeat about next season, Lee Clarke is making the right noises and I feel it’s still a division we can compete in.
    Protesting by staying away or not renewing season tickets will only harm the club, and I don’t think any of us want that.

    • Ed says:

      I am not upbeat, I can see the situation as being this…. all the players that are worth any money will be sold. That will leave us with very young players, free bee’s and loanees. I do think that LC will put together a reasonable team but I don’t see it being a team that could compete at the top of the league.
      That leaves us looking forward to another year the same as this year at best.

  • Marky mark says:

    To all those people who keep suggesting we boycott the club and refuse to purchase season tickets etc etc PLEAsE SHUT UP !

    Do you not realise what a damaging and negative effect this would have on our club, to remove our support both financially and vocally would be a disaster. Thank God some of our fans haven’t given up hope and are our there fighting for the cause.

    • RUPERT says:

      Not many are left though are thay ? We can barely muster 15,000 home fans. If season ticket sales decrease where will that leave the club? We will have to suffer pain anyway and the only way to get rid of these monsters is to cut the lifeline OUR money. Dont anyone think the ground is safe either St Andrews will be sold soon enough leaving zero assets.

  • Keith says:

    Best way to put it for now – suitors are there I can confirm but sellers are not ready to let go unless conditions are met……

    Confidentiality is obviously a key factor at this time

  • Tony says:

    In any struggle sometimes people have to be sacrificed for the greater good.

  • Bluehobba says:

    My thoughts would be that if Mr. Liu doesn’t really know what’s going on then how many more “major” shareholders do.
    It must be time for the shareholders to take more of an interest in what they have invested in and maybe this way it would force PP / CY’s hand for the under performance monetary wise. Painful for Bluenoses but businessmen do not like to lose what they.
    Almajir / Tilton Struggler – Once you have finished with the CY trial, your next mission is to attend the next shareholder mission. This will self destruct in 5 seconds 4,3 2 1 ……………….

  • JohnBond says:

    Fantastic keep up the good work, can’t believe the Chinese haven’t got a clue about how much certain players are on, people who are suggesting boycotting the club need to have a long hard think all that will do is put us into league 2 or worse, hopefully LC can pick a few decent freebies up.. KRO

  • Aussiebrum says:

    Lots will be happening – after all we are paying PP over a million a year to look after and protect our club.

  • OzzyBlue says:

    Almajir/Dan; I hear what you say and I hear what you don’t say also. There’s only one business method I know of that can provide a ‘clean sheet’ for a new buyer and ‘no untied ends that could come back and hurt them down the line’ – and that is administration. In an administration, the former directors relinquish all control over the company and hand it over to the Administrator, who may either run the business, clean it up and return it to the directors or seek a sale. If he/she appoints a Receiver, the assets are disposed of to the highest bidders and any surplus returned to the secured creditors first.
    BIH looks like it is a toxic company to any buyer and, depending on how convoluted BCFC is within BIH, you’ve nailed it when you talk about a ‘fraught complex process’ for any serious buyer dealing with BIH. They plainly can’t be trusted.

  • The Francis Fake says:

    Almajir, do you know when and under which circumstances the suspension of shares on Hong Kong stock exchange could be lifted?

  • haggis says:

    Anyone with even a modicum of sense will already sussed out that any deal for blues will be fraught with complications, that goes for 90% of big business acquisitions, add to that the difference in culture and yes it makes any deal difficult but not insurmountable if the will is there from all parties. Keep your peckers up chaps.

  • Blues for life 71 says:

    Tony i reckon you been watching too much “Hot Fuzz” ….. The greater good !!

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