Carson Yeung takes over Birmingham City

Carson Yeung.jpg
The Hong Kong businessman whose investment firm Grandtop International Holdings has raised an all cash £57m offer of a complete £81.5m takeover of the club (FT link) He already owns about 29.9% of the company.
Steve McManaman, who is a close friend and executive director of Grandtop International has been an important figure in Yeung’s pursuit of Birmingham for over two years. The former England and Liverpool midfielder is expected to be an important part in the Blues boardroom. Karren Brady will continue as managing director and Alex McLeish as the coach. David Gold is going to be retained as honorary chairman. Yeung failed in his first bid because he could not come up with the money to buyout the shares of David Sullivan, Ralph and David Gold who now stand to gain £40m from Birmingham’s sale.
The reason why Yeung increased his exposure:
The Premier League recognises that the development of the football game in the PRC is critical to football’s future as the world’s sport of choice. It was announced in July 2009 that Premier League matches for the forthecoming 2009/2010 season will be broadcast in China on free to air state broadcaster Guandong TV, exposing the Premier League to a significantly sized television audience in China.
Grandtop engages in sourcing and trading apparel. It involves in trading sportswear and other apparel; and provision of entertainment services in Hong Kong, Macau, and the United Kingdom.
A closer look reveals that all is not rosy with the company.
Grandtop’s audited financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2009 showed revenue of HK$10.6 million (31 March 2008: HK$20.6 million), loss before taxation and after impairment losses of HK$91.7 million (31 March 2008: loss of HK$151.7 million) and net liabilities of HK$65.2 million (31 March 2008: net assets HK$12.6 million).
Analysts grading Grandtop International Holdings Limited have warned that the company faces weak business growth and run by inefficient management.
There is no cheering going on as Blues supporters are wary in the wake of what has happened to Portsmouth.
“I don’t think there’s excitement on the terraces, more apprehension after what happened in 2007,” Linda Goodman, chairman of the Birmingham branch of the supporters’ club, said. “I think Blues fans would like more information on where he’s [Yeung’s] getting the money from, considering he’s willing to pay £20 million more than he was two years ago, since when his company’s struggled and there’s a world recession going on.”
With Yeung’s takeover, half of the Premiership clubs now belong in foreign hands.
Changing landscape

  • Birmingham (tbc): Carson Yeung, Hong Kong
  • Fulham: Mohamed Al Fayed, Egypt (since 1997)
  • Chelsea: Roman Abramovich, Russia (since 2004)
  • Manchester United: Glazer family, United States (since 2005)
  • Portsmouth: Alexandre Gaydamak, Israel (since 2006)
  • Aston Villa: Randy Lerner, US (since 2006)
  • Liverpool: Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr, US (since 2007)
  • Manchester City: Sheikh Mansour, Abu Dhabi (since 2008)
  • Sunderland: Ellis Short, US (since 2009)
  • West Ham: CB Holding, Iceland (since 2009)
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