If you’ve not already seen the statement, it’s available at this link.
Normally, I wouldn’t write a post in the heat of the moment about something like this but as I’m getting bombarded with questions (and I have something else I wanted to post tomorrow), I’m writing this now.
Is this true?
Yes, it is true. This will have had to have been signed off by lawyers because of the nature of the statement so you can take it to the bank.
However, it’s important to understand what this statement is. It’s not saying that a takeover has been agreed, or that a deposit has been paid.
What this statement is saying is that a shareholder has opened talks with someone about maybe selling their stake. It says due diligence has been started – which can throw up all kinds of issues.
That in turn would imply this deal is similar to the one Maxco Capital tried to execute last year.
Why release this now?
The timing of this statement seems premature as talks have only been initiated; there is no talk of deposits being paid or data rooms being opened.
A cynic might suggest this has been made by the club to prevent what looks like a whole host of protests happening.
Doesn’t the HKSE have to be told?
The HKSE would only have to be told officially if Birmingham Sports Holdings have opened negotiations and it seems clear that this neither involves BSH nor have negotiations been opened.
Who are the third party?
There has been no mention of who the third party are.
The only thing I would say in this situation is right now it’s probably best we don’t know; we saw with both Laurence Bassini and Maxco how a takeover played out in public can go so badly.
A truly professional buyer would want to keep their names out of the press until a deal is done so that if things go south they won’t be embarrased in the way Maxco and Bassini have been.
Equally, it’s important to understand that I have no desire to try break news for 15 minutes of fame only to get slagged off if it falls through. My call for circumspection on this kind of announcement holds from last year.
All we can do is wait and see. I know patience isn’t something many of us have, but it’s all we can have. Nothing is going to go quickly; if they do begin negotiations in earnest I couldn’t see anything being done by the end of this season.
Also, don’t forget there is still the huge elephant in the room with regards to the EFL investigation into Wang Yaohui. That is still ongoing and still could hold up any takeover.