Often Partisan

An Open Letter to Often Partisan Readers from Jeremy Wray

I have been contacted by Jeremy Wray who posted this comment on Often Partisan. As it’s important, right of reply and of interest to OP readers, I have reproduced it in full, unedited without comment for you to read.

I am sure that as all here appreciate discussions and negotiations such as my investors have asked me to enter into with the Board of BIHL are complicated, complex and should be confidential.

It is my, and my colleagues, wish to remain professional and manage these discussions with tact and diplomacy and to communicate with whoever the Board of BIHL should mandate to hopefully achieve a successful outcome. We are committed to quality corporate governance and don’t wish to start any potential stewardship of Birmingham City FC with anything other than a commitment to transparency.

I therefore want to provide some information in response to this thread entitled “When is a bid not a bid”.

I confirm again that I submitted an offer to acquire the entire shareholding that BIHL owns in Birmingham City plc on 1st November 2014, and further copied this to all Board members on 4th November 2014. This offer contained conditions, timing, process and value. We believe that this constituted a formal offer, it is however up to the Board of BIHL to determine the absolute conditions that they wish to impose to accept this as a formal offer and when to inform the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In any “normal” process a potential investor would indicate an outline offer, an agreement would be reached to undergo due diligence, and after this a Heads of Agreement would be produced that would lead to a set of documents that allowed a sale to proceed. Since early March, when we were encouraged to enter into negotiations to acquire the club, we have been striving to get a proper sale process agreed.

On 1st December 2014, BIHL issued a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange that stated that “informal non-binding offers will not be entertained”. We have had no response from the Board of BIHL to our offer of 1st November 2014, other than the agreement for us to start due diligence, that was later apparently rescinded. We do not consider our offer of early November to be in the above category, but so as to have absolute clarity (and in the knowledge that many of the Board members do not speak good English) I resent our offer on 2nd December 2014 making sure that it was marked as a “formal offer”. In aggregate the offer is the same as presented earlier save that there have had to be minor changes to the timetable because of the delays that have occurred from the original plan. As of writing I have not even had this letter acknowledged as being received.

The conditions and values within our offer must remain confidential. I do however want to address one point that is critical and which I don’t believe to be commercially sensitive. Any potential acquirer of the club will have to show proof and source of funds. Not only to BIHL, in order to complete the transaction, but also to the Football League in order to demonstrate an on-going ability to fund the club going forward. We have no concerns in this matter. We have set out conditions within our offer letter when we would be prepared to put funds into an escrow account to meet our obligations. Fans need have no concern that this is a “tyre kicking offer”.

As all of you, we wait, and the clock ticks on. We have funds available and are keen to acquire Birmingham City and move the club forward. We have a plan that we want to share when appropriate. Soon I hope we will learn whether we may get the chance to take on this responsibility. I promise you all we are very keen to have that chance.

This is a one off post in response to this thread and I don’t intend to actively participate in forum discussions but thought this piece of clarity may help to allay any doubts that may exist.

Jeremy Wray

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84 Responses to “An Open Letter to Often Partisan Readers from Jeremy Wray”

  • @85Coy says:

    Well…

  • Padders says:

    Very genuine bloke. He sounds very enthusiastic about getting the club and moving forward. Seriously hope that he can get a positive outcome

  • Connor says:

    lets just hope that the halt on the hkse today means Wrays offer has finally been acknowledged and bihl could on the way out of the club

  • Oldbluenose says:

    At least, Wray has come out into the open, and considering the restraints that abound the terms of an offer, — I cannot see what else he can do, — but wait, as do we all,

  • Peaky says:

    This gets evermore frustrating.We clearly have people who want the club,are prepared to pay a reasonable price and have money to invest.What is the problem with BIH? What are they holding out for?

  • ChrisG says:

    Mr Wray, thanks very much for your statement. It seems to me you are genuinely working hard to buy BCFC & I would like to wish you good luck with your bid, the way BIH are acting, I think you’re going to need it!!

  • Richard Granfield says:

    What a Christmas present this would be if BIHL accepted Mr Wray’s offer.
    Then we would not only have the prospect of a new regime, but a new manager and a team on the up.

  • Luke says:

    On the off-chance that Jeremy reads these comments, I’d just like to say thank you for taking the time and trouble for the post, and good luck with the deal.

  • Roy says:

    Is this the proof we’ve been waiting for SANTA IS A BLUNOSE!!!

  • Jaffa says:

    This is all getting a bit silly.It is as clear as day that BIHL have no intention at all to sell BCFC.The only way the club will change hands is if it is forced to.

  • Paul Hawkins says:

    How refreshing it is too see that Jeremy Wray has come forward to let the people who count know what’s going on. Us supporters are tired of rumours, no comments coming from the current owners. Don’t they feel that the supporters deserve more respect

  • Blue tsunami says:

    Indeed it would be something to smile about over Christmas if the affairs off the field matched those currently occurring on it. I hold my breath in hope that BIHL finally do the polite thing and entertain Mr Wray’s bid. Should they fail to do so I despair for us. Here we have someone bearing gold, frankincense and myhhr, and sufficient supplies to replenish it year on year, what more could BIHL possibly require?

  • The Francis Fake says:

    The shareholders in the Pavlakis camp according to Pannu have a Chinese option and were cool about Wray. Wray’s bid seems to look credible and I’m sure that all Blues fans would welcome a UK based solution to our problem. Pavlakis needs to clarify the situation although I hope this turmoil doesn’t upset the onfield focus. We have to thank Pavlakis for appointing Rowett and I think the recent climb up the table has helped the possibility of a sale. Pavlakis needs to maintain the goodwill of the fans and come clean within the constraints of Hong Kong stock exchange rules.

  • Tom Ross says:

    I have to say that this response from Mr Wray sounds very genuine. I am not versed in business law but it seems like a formal offer to me.What is wrong in talking to him and trying to work out a deal. Why did BIHL suddenly say the club was NOT for sale? If not what are their plans for the future and taking the club forward?
    Obviously we don’t know what the consortium was offering so it might not meet BIHLs valuation, however if he was asked to proceed with due diligence then one can only assume that the offer was OK.
    Curiouser and curiouser- the only thing missing is the Mad Hatter

  • Paul says:

    Dear Mr Wray, i would like to thank you for your openness and honesty in this extremely tangled affair.
    I, as do many Bluenoses sincerely hope that your offer to buy the club is approached in the same sincerity by the BIHL board as it is given. However, it is a very cynical hope!
    Heres to an early Christmas present. Good luck, KRO.

  • Marky mark says:

    If your reading this Mr Wray you have my deepest sympathies having to deal with those muppets in HK

    Good luck

  • Art says:

    The big question is!

    Why hasn’t the BIH board responded – even if the reply is thanks but no thanks!

    It beggars belief

  • StaffsBlue says:

    “informal non-binding offers will not be entertained”

    Nowhere in the statement did I read that “formal binding offers will not be entertained,” and this new offer seems to be just that. So BIHL…. stop moving the f***ing goalposts and sell up already!!

    Warmest thanks to Mr Wray for clarifying things (as much as is possible.)

  • Royalblue says:

    I don’t see why you are all getting excited ?
    He has put in what he considers ‘ a formal offer ‘ and hasn’t been acknowledged ! I could do that.
    No serious business man would contact a fans forum to explain himself before a sale of football club.
    Another chancer I’m afraid.

  • Bluesbot says:

    A very open and candid response from Mr Wray, and it is one that is very much appreciated, although it is very disconcerting that BIHL have not even responded to accept receipt of this bid.
    really hope that the suspension in shares is so that they can sell the club.

  • bludean1875 says:

    Hopefully the Football League pushing for answers from Peter Pan about his outburst and the Blues Trust writing to the football league concerning CY’s “shadow directorship” will now push BIH into selling.
    Hopefully the halt in shares on the HKSE mean that they are to announce the bid to them. I am more optimistic about a sale than I have been in the last few years. However a comment to Mr Wray. Why now put the bid in? I thought the due dilligence was done early in the year so why not put a bid in earlier? In fact I was told by Steve McCarthy that the trust was told by Panos that the Soccer Management Worlwide interest was “dead” . Is this now a new consortium to the one in May as my understanding was that you were no longer part of SMW?

  • RednalBlue says:

    Once again Often Partisan proves to be the only source of clear, precise, understandable and transparent news about our club and thanks again to Dan for all he does for us fans.
    Mr Wray, I would like to thank you for posting this thread so promptly and wish you every success with your bid. If ever you or your bussiness associates ever needed proof of how passionate Blues fans are then you reading this blog will surely give you no doubts that when we as fans have owners willing to take us forward you’ll be backed by wholeheartedly as we are “family”
    When all this is over and we do have new owners, whoever they might be, I hope in some way Daniel gets the recognition he deserves as his work has been so valuable to us fans and his/our club. Maybe a page in the match day programme or a room in the ground named after this blog.
    KRO. SOTV.
    Sam.

  • Ted says:

    It seems quite obvious to me that Mr. Pannu has lost the plot. I’m sorry Mr. Wray has to deal with him at all. Knowing well how Chinese business works, this idiocy could continue for quite some time. Getting bolshi with the Yeung and Pannu won’t work. Yeung has ‘lost face’ in HK and won’t relinquish the last piece of his empire easily. Pannu is an egotist: a very dangerous thing if misused in business. They must realize that it is in their best interests to walk away. KRO.

  • Colin says:

    I think we need Tom and Arthur Shelby backing the deal

  • blue lizard says:

    Fair play to Mr Wray for taking time out to clarify the situation ..he was under no obligation too..the moaners will still moan however but for me it shows the club is still seen as a viable proposition for someone..Good luck to him I say..(he will need it dealing with the secret society that is BIHL)

  • Bluepenguin76 says:

    Well,seems like a genuine response.However,sod all will happen!….the lunatics truely are running the show at Saint Andrews.Would make total sense to sell if Blues progession as a club actually was BIH’s key concern,sadly they have proved time and time and time again this is not the case.

  • Ron Saunders says:

    Perhaps just perhaps it’s not Pannu who is the problem here. My belief is that pavlakis quite likes the idea of running a football club and therefore has little to no appetite to encourage a sale at this stage. It appears despite what Pannu said in his rant that the club is relatively self sufficient with the current level of overheads so there is no need immediate threat of administration.
    With the fortunes on the pitch having temporarily improved due to the new manager Pavlakis might be deluded enough to believe that things could sufficiently turn round enough for us to challenge at the top end of the table, where as even the most ardent of blues fans appreciate that whilst the current squad and manager are performing miracles we know long term it is unlikely to continue.

  • Ronj says:

    I thank Mr Wray for being so open with the fans. I am afraid that the only way matters are going to move forward is action taken by either the HKSE or the football league. It is clear that the muppets in volved with BIHL do not have the slightest interest in a football club halfway round the world. The original perpetrator CY bought the club on an ego trip. I feel there are dark forces here in the shadows and until the whole matter sees the light of day we will continue to be in a precarious position.

  • Stevie W says:

    Thank you Mr Wray for putting some clarity on this mess in what is a very sensitive situation for yourself and backers.

    I wish you all the luck in the world in getting BCFC away from the clutches of BIHL and returning us back to a level of normality.

  • nicko says:

    well done mr wray thank you for being so open. we play derby on boxing day why not come down to st Andrews watch the team play and mingle with the blue noses.i hope you get the club, but i still believe carson young wants to hang on to our club.

  • Jimbo says:

    Thank you for addressing the fans Mr Wray. Good luck but like someone has already suggested they will only sell if forced to! If only the Football League grew some and forced BIHL to sell.

  • Blue nose says:

    I can only thank Mr Wray for his complete honesty in putting forward a genuin bid for our club we can only hope BIHL see sense and do what every fan wants get out and sell th Club to some one who wants to take us forward KRO

  • pedantic pete says:

    If you’ve been keeping up with comments on this forum Mr Wray, you will know that allows all else transparency is what will gain the fan’s respect (as well as hard cash of course!). Of course you are limited in what you can say at the moment, but this is a good start and bodes well for the future of the club if you are successful. we wish you well.

  • will says:

    Please please please end this nightmare if you are genuine and honest with us we will back you to the hilt not to mention the end of the road wishing you well if you are truethfull in what u are promising us we have been hurt so many times before you will never have a more faithful backing of fans in the country

  • Hillfield blues says:

    Isn’t it time for your thoughts Mr Pavlakis. After all you have been implicated by both Wray and Pannu as somebody that has been obstructive to the bid.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I’ve felt for a while that PP2 ain’t what he seems. Smiling assassin springs to mind. Basically, he’s nothing more than a HK lackie and, like the rest of them, not to be trusted.

  • Letsby Avenue says:

    Thank you for the response Mr Wray.

    One thing your response shows… VERY CLEARLY… is the gulf in professionalism and abilty between your attempt and that of Mr Paladini ~ [Peter’s earlier ‘crush’].

    I can understand that Mr Pannu will receive a “finder’s fee” if you succeed, and that may help explain his recent vexation and subsequent emails to AJ ..ooops…[ whatisname :-) ]…hitting out at every obstacle between him and his “fee” and disclosing internal and confidential finances in the process.

    We all wish you, and any others, good luck, obviously.

    But, if you are aware that many shareholders of BIHL may not speak or read English, why didn’t you invest in good translations of your bid … beyond just saying “formal”…when relaid on 4th December?

    Japanese and German companies always write in the language of the country that they seek to invest in…..that is a basic Rule One.
    Saying “they” may not be ‘au fait’ with English, is a bit dinosuaur don’t you think?

    • Ptaah says:

      I kind of agree, I just wish the Hong Kong business men would show common curtesy to understand the way British buyers operate..in Britain

  • TrueBlue says:

    Of course we could wait it out for the preffered bidders,
    remember the Chinese buyers that consist of CY’s aunt and his 2nd
    cousin twice removed. Mr Wray and consortium we wish you all
    the best and hope for the rightful outcome.

  • RichardM says:

    I genuinely wish Mr Wray the best – but the elephant in the room here remains the HK Stock Exchange Listing (and the value of that to BIHL). Unless they can find some other venture to maintain their listing (after they have sold Birmingham City) then I fear we are truly being held hostage and there is no incentive to take Mr Wray’s bid (formal or informal) any further.

  • Andy says:

    one of the problems as I see it is that BIHL only asset is the Blues. If they were to sell the club the would have no assets and would therefore lose the very valuable HKSE listing (the listing is worth more than the club from my understanding).
    So any potential buyer of the club would need to include in the purchase price a business so BIHL would have an asset to continue.

  • Evesham blue says:

    It’s funny how we have lived with this fiasco for over 3 years now. I am becoming totally immune to it now. Kind of like watching us getting drubbed 8 nil by Bournemouth at home. You have to laugh when things are dire. Sorry to say this but you have no chance with any bid. The biggest smile I have had recently is Mr Rowett’s quiet revolution. Forget the politics and don’t get your hopes up. What matters is on the pitch.

    KRO

  • I Roth says:

    Please let someone buy our club who can take us forward. We have had so much negativity let’s hope this is a genuine offer which will be accepted.

  • Mark fewtrell says:

    The fact of a non response to this bid should surely prompt the football league to question the fiasco of our ownership. The money laundering the pannu rants the constant delays in declaring figures are not consistant with fit and proper . I pray for a Christmas miracle and wish Mr Wray good luck.

  • andy says:

    Well I accepted that we are stuck with BIHL FOREVER!

  • blue says:

    if Jeremy Wray buys the club, does PP gain financially? does he benefit if HK forced a sale?

    if Panos sells us or BIHL decides they can get better at a later date, does PP gets nowt?

  • AussieBlue says:

    Well, JW gets points for that one! A good hearts & minds communication. Realising the NDA restrictions; it would however be reassuring to know whether the due diligence has revealed any untoward payments heading out of the club’s finances that could be clawed back via legal process. Don’t laugh…this is exactly what happened when Gold & Sullivan sold…a certain London-educated barrister with strong connections to Hong Kong successfully clawed back what was estimated to be (details were never revealed) 3.1 million pounds…for which he promptly claimed 10% commission payable into his own UK HKSB account.

    I would advocate to JW that, if his bid is ultimately successful, that a new era of utmost transparency should be heralded. BCFC has the finance and compliance officers to implement this. This means being totally open and honest with management, staff and the much abused supporters.

    It could start with a statement about the Acting Chairman of the club and whether or not he too is involved in the bid, Jeremy.

  • Dave mann says:

    Blackpool, Gary rowett, Nicola zigic, Jeremy wray,. This weekend and the weeks leading upto Xmas luck to be very interesting and exiting … Lets keep calm and support bcfc, the good times are just round the corner me thinks!! Lol&kro

    • Geoff S says:

      Your optimism does you credit, Dave, but maybe “Careful, now” (a la “Father Ted”) has to be the watch words.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I read in the BM this morning, Paul Robinson saying that some of the players were scared of the previous manager’s passion for the game. I just shook my head in disbelief at the modern day footballer.

      • Geoff S says:

        I spotted that article, Staffs, and I think you have a point re the modern footballer.

        “Scared” is a very emotive word but I would have thought the players should certainly have felt bewildered by some of Clark’s tactics and team selections – as were many Blues fans.

        The article also contains a fair degree of diplomacy from Robinson, which maybe ain’t surprising.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          I can understand players where tactics etc are concerned… but passion? If the players had shown even half the passion of the manager, we wouldn’t have been fighting relegation every season.

          That’s the trouble with today’s football, the only passion you see is on the terraces. Money is God.

  • Wingman Blue says:

    I’m sceptical. The standard of English in this ‘letter’ is poor. If I wished to show myself as the public face of a multi-million pound offer for a football club, I would at least get a grown up to read through my draft first. And why go on a supporter’s blog anyway? Knowing a little of the board’s attitudes already, this is hardly likely to appeal to them.
    This smacks of, ‘we’ve failed, but it could have been so good…’

    Christmas may be a little bit further off.

    • Geoff S says:

      Wingman makes some very important observations re Wray’s open letter – it looks fairly amateurish. To be sure, the current owners of Blues are unspeakable and need to be gone but is it a case that any owners would be better than these?

      Wray is a man whose syndicate (if he has one) was once reliant on Soccer Management Worldwide but now apparently is not. Ask yourself how that came about and also consider the man’s liking for the frankly nasty and appalling Di Canio.

  • Ian says:

    This is Paladini MK2. Going public to try to force their hand is a fruitless task. Chinese commercial culture is different to ours. They will not sell without a delegate from the purchasers going to China to discuss. To submit documents for a proposed sale offer without actually “pressing the flesh” and discussing face to face first will be considered improper. The Chinese business culture is built on personal approaches and relationships and submitting an offer letter is as impersonal as you can get. The lack of reasponse is essentially not to deride the offer but a statement of derision to how it’s been submitted.
    If your serious Mr Wray you need to get your backside on a plane and go out to China to truly show your intent and hire a Chinese business consultant who will help with Chinese business etiquette.

  • StevieW says:

    The silence is now deafening after the last few days of uproar.

    Time to concentrate on the footy.

    Come On YOu Blue Boys

  • Eamon C says:

    Good look with your bid Mr Wray all blues fans wish you well I am sure.
    BIHL its time to do the right thing for BCFC.

  • The Flying Pig says:

    Good luck Mr Wray and thanks for the communication.

    Although I know nothing certain about the matter, my gut feeling is BIHL do not want to sell. Until there is an announcement to HKSE about a bid being received, I shall not hold my breath. Even is it was, we could still be some time away from any satisfactory resolution. My only hope is that the announcement to which Mr Wray refers [1/12/14] was designed to allay rumours, or, more hopefully, to force the formalisation of the bid.

    Whilst Nero fiddles…

    …Chief Fire Officer Gary Rowett is putting out some of the flames! Good luck to the lads tomorrow.

    KRO

  • Castanucci says:

    I would think that the offer presented by Mr. Wray would have a validity period attached to it as part of the terms.

    By acknowledging receipt of the offer, BIHL would then be bound by this validity period if they were interested in progressing the sale forward. If the validity runs out, and Wray and pals have to produce another offer, BIHL could well lose their bargaining position and be faced with a reduced offer.

    By not acknowledging receipt of the offer, they can perform their own due diligence, without being bound by the validity period. Their bargaining position will also not be weakened by doing this, as another offer will just have to be produced by Wray and his chums to replace the offer that ‘never showed up’.

    I like Wray’s comment, it does sound sincere, but I can sound sincere when I need to….

    Fingers crossed, and UP THE CITY.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Looking forward to this weekend with a trip to Blackpool … All the weeks news about the return of the zig and a glint on the horizon about a takeover goes to one side as its all about put in one over on the passionate tinker man and is tangerine dreamers…coming back from Blackpool loosing doesn’t even bare thinking about and mr rowett will be drumming that into the players because the support they will get Saturday will be truly inspiring and those of you who are not going for what ever reasons are going to miss out on one hell of an experience, for those of us who will be there enjoy and sing your hearts out for 90 plus mins as you always do anyway!!!….can’t frigging wait , come on you blue boys!!ll lol&kro.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I hope Lee Clark gets a decent reception from the Blues fans. He was always generous in his praise and respect for the fans, I hope they will be magnanimous in return.

      If he only gets one more win this season, he would obviously want it to be this one. I wouldn’t like to call it… but I’d be surprised if there wasn’t 3 or 4 goals in the game. Barring injury, I would expect to see the same Blues side again.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Totally agree staffs with same team same formation and a rousing reception from 90 percent of away blues fans for lee Clark because of his good away record when in charge, there be one or two boos but I can assure you that me my wife and my son will give him a good reception and a round of applause, those that boo around me will know about it, trust me!! Lol&kro.

  • DoctorD says:

    Well, I have to say Daniel’s blog is turning into the epicentre of anything and everything to do with the future of Birmingham City.

    So we have now had comments from Peter Pannu and Jeremy Wray — I would now like Panos to have his say and Carson Yeung to speak out too!

    Come on you guys, what are you waiting for?

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I think it’ll be a cold day in hell before Yeung says anything, especially on this blog, but I do think it’s time Pavlakis removed his gag.

      • DMC says:

        I suspect the only thing Yeung is saying these days is ‘can someone pick the soap up for me’

        that is until his bail application

    • almajir says:

      I doubt Panos will be speaking on here for a while; not until things calm down on the HK front. That being said, I have spoken to him on occasion and I do put questions to him to get answers – occasionally, he answers them.

      Carson – can’t get internet in Stanley Prison. Sorry.

  • Eric says:

    Thanks Mr. Wray for recognizing that football fans are an important element that deserve clear communication. Where this goes from here will help inform us whether Hong Kong/China is a legitimate business partner for future investors. Canadian Bluenoses wish you well.

  • Spanish Blue says:

    I notice that the focus is on the £25m annual budget for Blues rather than the amount of the bid. I would assume that this focus would suggest the offer price is very low. I dont think we should hold our breath,


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