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Monday, November 5, 2012
Paladini hopeful of Birmingham takeover

Ian Edwards

Gianni Paladini is growing increasingly confident of succeeding in his 30 million takeover attempt at Birmingham City and will discover in the next 72 hours whether his bid has been successful.

Paladini has told close associates he is happy with how the situation is progressing and has been assured of an answer from acting Birmingham chairman Peter Pannu, which is expected by the middle of this week.

The Italian has been encouraged by the positive dialogue with Pannu and is keen to be granted a period of exclusivity, ahead of other potentially interested parties, to enable his consortium to perform financial due diligence.

Pannu, who is also the boss of parent company Birmingham International Holdings Limited (BIHL), has spent the weekend in discussions with club owner Carson Yeung and BIHL shareholders.

Yeung purchased Birmingham for 81.5 million three years ago but is awaiting his court case in Hong Kong, which is expected to start at the end of November, for alleged money laundering worth 59.7 million.

Shareholders in BIHL will see more than 50 million of the original investment wiped out if they sell the club to the Paladini consortium.

Paladini's appears to be the only interested party that has made a written offer for the club, despite rumoured interest from another Chinese consortium and a potential buyer in India.

Market experts value BIHL's 96% stake in Birmingham at around 15 million, but Yeung is owed 13.7 million for a loan and a further 7.8 million is owed to BIHL. Pannu's written offer guarantees a 30 million return, although 13 million of the deal will be in deferred payments.

If Pannu, as the BIHL chief executive officer and managing director, recommends to shareholders that they should sell to Palladini, an EGM would have to be called and Birmingham could still be months away from being placed in charge of new owners.

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