ARSON Yeung is looking to recoup at least half of the £81.5 million he spent purchasing Birmingham City.
But interested parties in the club – with the Gianni Paladini consortium the first to emerge – rate Blue’s value a lot less.
And for this reason any change in ownership at St Andrew’s could become a drawn-out affair, unless the financial situation of parent company Birmingham International Holdings Limited (BIHL) continues to deteriorate, and rapidly.
Paladini, the Solihull businessman who helped saved QPR from extinction, tabled an offer of around £12 million.
But it was dismissed out of hand by Yeung and acting chairman Peter Pannu, who has been sourcing new investment or new owners for several months.
Paladini, it was initially believed, was keen on taking charge of Blues alongside his friend ex-Formula One chief Flavio Briatore.
But Paladini today revealed that Briatore was not part of his group, but that it contained other Italian businessmen
Yeung believes he could get around £40 million or so for Blues – but that figure looks unrealistic given the current state of affairs.
Any prospective buyer would not go that high in the knowledge that Yeung could well be backed into a corner soon.
He faces trial at the end of November on charges of £59 million worth of alleged money laundering.
And there are other court cases on the go in relation to non-payment of loans that could see Yeung lose his luxury home on Hong Kong’s prestigious Peak.
BIHL have yet to produce their accounts for 2011 and it is difficult
to fathom how the firm could improve the current parlous standing.
Those hovering in the wings could well think that the best course of action would be to wait and see if BIHL was about to go under.
Paladini and associates are not the only party keen on Blues.
It is understood that there is also serious interest from Asia and the Far East.
Paladini's is the first group to emerge and come to the fore but their chances of succeeding with a takeover bid, at this early stage, seem to be slim.
The identities of other potential buyers have not been disclosed. Confidentiality is always a key component in such cases.
But there have been talks with and representations made to Blues’ hierarchy in recent months.
Yeung is BIHL’s single biggest shareholder, with 26 per cent.
He put a £13.7 million loan into Blues, plus there is an outstanding loan of £7.8 million to BIHL.
Sources who have followed the Blues saga believe it would make sense for him to accept an offer that would cover these outlays as a best case scenario.
But Yeung is holding out for significantly more.
Paladini, who is from Naples, has lived in Solihull since the 1960s.
He made a name for himself as a football agent, helping to deliver the likes of Fabrizio Ravanelli to Middlesbrough.
He also acted as a go-between for Blues on their Anglo-Italian jaunts in the mid-1990s and is a well-known figure to those on the local football scene.
Paladini was at QPR for eight years. In 2003 he helped secure vital funds for the club to keep them afloat and helped pave the way for Briatore’s takeover, who linked up with Bernie Ecclestone, in 2007.
He became chairman and stayed in the post until Tony Fernandes took command at Loftus Road. He left the club soon after, in November 2011.
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