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Birmingham City complete takeover by Chinese investors

Birmingham City have been bought by Chinese investment firm Trillion Trophy Asia (TTA) in a deal that has taken 16 months to complete.

The Blues have now ended their association with former owner Carson Yeung with TTA figurehead Paul Suen confirming they have acquired more than 50% of the club’s shares.

“It is the start of a fresh era,” a message posted to the club’s official website said, with a new board expected to be drafted in at St Andrew’s.

Birmingham International Holdings (BIH), the parent company of the Blues which operates on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, have already made changes of their own with six directors leaving and replaced with seven new directors appointed.

City embraced the ‘significance’ of the takeover in turning Gary Rowett’s men into a side capable of returning to past glories.

“Today is a significant day in the history of Birmingham City Football Club,” the message read.

“Birmingham International Holdings Limited (BIHL), has resumed trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and is now in the expert hands of Trillion Trophy Asia Limited (TTA).

“It means that, as a Club, we have new owners – and we welcome all at TTA into the Blues family and we look forward to exciting times ahead at St. Andrew’s under their guidance and with their backing.”

In a league with ever-growing financial clout the new owners have remained vague around the level of investment they intend to make. Though one statement released by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on behalf of TTA suggested that £10million would be pumped into the club initially, followed by a further £12million.

Negotiations for the takeover gathered pace in June 2015, when the two parties agreed upon an exclusivity order to share financial information. The Blues signalled their gratitude to the fans for their patience and upheld the message that the club was on route for something special to commence.

“We appreciate that it has not always been easy for supporters to follow developments. We thank you for your patience.

“To borrow the motto of this great City of ours, we can move forward. We can all move forward, together.

“A line can formally be drawn under the old regime and we can continue to plan ahead for a brighter Blues future, off the field and on it with Gary Rowett and his players.

Under former owner Carson Yeung, City plummeted into financial insecurity following his imprisonment in 2014, but TTA secured influence within the club by loaning money to the Blues against St Andrew’s Stadium.

Despite this, in the two years since club records have announced a combined operating loss of £5.8m.

As has been the case under Gary Rowett, Birmingham’s squad continue to improve the club’s outlook on the pitch with minimal resources available despite the best efforts of director Panos Pavlakis.

Now, as the latest example of Chinese money spreading into football’s global market, the Blues could perhaps be a club with a safe finance to back up their young, promising English manager. And one that delivers on Carson Yeung’s false promises.

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