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.
While Blues secured their Championship status for another year by winning away at Rotherham on Monday, Birmingham Sports Holdings have been doing what it can to secure its own financial status on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Just prior to announcing their interim results on Thursday, Birmingham Sports Holdings also announced a rights issue in an attempt to raise HK$297.7million. The purpose of the rights issue is to reduce the frightening levels of borrowing within the company and to provide more working capital to keep the company going.
One of the biggest things I want to achieve while I’m out here in Hong Kong is to help the fans who want to know more about the ownership of the club to understand how it all works. I know it’s not something everyone cares about – but I believe it’s important so that we know what to expect from Birmingham City’s owners and what to hope for.
Dragon Villa will become the second biggest shareholder in Birmingham Sports Holdings (and thus by extension BCFC) once the share subscription announced on Thursday goes through. Their holding will take them above the 10% threshold that ensures that their owner Lei Sutong has to take the much-maligned Owners and Directors Test. Just who are these people?
I think it’s safe to say that the ownership situation at Birmingham City is still one of mystery to some people, judging by some of the questions I get asked via social media or email. With this in mind I wanted to put together an article answering the questions that get asked the most to help improve people’s understanding.