Birmingham City slumped to a 4-0 defeat on Saturday at Blackburn Rovers, leaving them 17th in the table. While the heavy defeat has brought out some critics of Lee Bowyer’s tenure as Head Coach, there has also been an increasing amount of talk online about how the ownership of the club might change.
One of the most complex things to understand about Birmingham City is just who owns the club. While the simple answer would be to point to the Hong Kong listed company Birmingham Sports Holdings, the ownership of that company is opaque due to the number of investment vehicles incorporated in the British Virgin Islands who own stakes in the company. Throw into the mix people owning stakes in the club directly and you’ve got a mess.
Everyone knows that Birmingham City are owned by a company based in Hong Kong, but how much is actually known about them and what they do? In this second refresher article about the powers that be behind the club, I’ve taken a look at Birmingham Sports Holdings.
Following my article on Monday about the rumours surrounding takeovers and owners, I thought now would be a good time to refresh people’s memories about Wang Yaohui (aka the elusive Mr King) and his connections to the entities that officially own the club, the stadium and Birmingham Sports Holdings.
The international break is a tough time for journalists, especially ones covering smaller clubs. With no games to report on column inches have to be filled with other things to get those clicks. This weekend those column inches were filled with a report that Laurence Bassini is “eyeing a Birmingham City takeover”.
Back in August, I’d hoped that by the time of the October international break we’d be close to knowing when the final work on the Kop and Tilton stands would be at St Andrew’s. Yet here we are not even sure that the upper part of the Kop will be open for the visit of Swansea on October 23.
On Thursday Birmingham Sports Holdings announced to shareholders the end of year accounts for the company for the year ending June 30, 2021. The accounts reflect a year where the business has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic with revenues vastly reduced. However, the sale of Jude Bellingham in particular ensured that the company were able to reduce losses to a more manageable level.
With the football season pretty much over, I wanted to turn my attention back to the ownership of Birmingham City. Although the departure of Ren Xuandong from his roles as CEO and Director of the club has been welcomed almost universally by Blues fans, I think there are still some reservations over how the ownership of the club will run the club going forward.
Two consecutive days of share price rises have pushed the stock market capitalisation of Birmingham Sports Holdings to £378M as of close of play on Friday. It seems an insanely high figure for a company which makes the majority of its revenue via Blues. In today’s piece I’ve taken a deep dive into just what else BSH does to try to make some sense of what is happening.
It might be relegation worries for Birmingham City at St Andrew’s, but in the Hong Kong it’s very much business as usual for Birmingham Sports Holdings. The HKSE listed company announced to shareholders that it was revising its profit warning upwards to around £7m for the six months to December 31, 2020 – and this came on the back of a share price rise which now values the company at close to £320M.