St Andrew’s, the home of English Championship football club Birmingham City, has changed hands once again, it has been confirmed.
After the deal was initially announced in March, the club’s parent company Birmingham Sports Holdings, in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, has confirmed its 75% stake in subsidiary Birmingham City Stadium Ltd (BCSL) has been sold to real estate investor Kang Ming-Ming.
The Birmingham Mail said Kang is using a British Virgin Islands investment company, Achiever Global Group Ltd, to make the purchase. She had until June 30 to complete the purchase, which is valued at £10.78m (€12.53m/$15.28m).
Completion of the deal means the club’s parent company no longer owns St Andrew’s and will instead now pay rent to the newly independent entity, BCSL. The deal incorporates an agreement for the club to continue renting the stadium through to 2031. The rental agreement is set at £1.25m per year, which can be reviewed in 2025.
Birmingham Sports Holdings said: “Immediately after the completion, BCSL ceased to be a subsidiary of the company and the company no longer hold any interest in the shares of BCSL.”
In January 2020, Birmingham became the latest Championship club to enter into a stadium sale agreement in an effort to enhance its financial standing. The West Midlands club, which had already been the subject of financial fair play sanctions from the English Football League (EFL), was found to have sold St Andrew’s to a company controlled by owner Paul Suen Cho Hung for £22.8m.
City’s financial report included details of a deal to sell “land and property” to BCSL, an entity registered in May 2019 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Birmingham Sports Holdings. A profit of £17.2m was declared on the sale after the stadium was independently valued at £22.8m.
The deal helped to bring City’s pre-tax loss down to £8.2m, with the club having reported an operating loss of £29.2m for the 12 months ending June 2019. The club’s pre-tax loss for the previous year was £37.4m.
The Mail notes that ties remain between the club, Birmingham Sports Holdings and BCSL. The other 25% of the stadium company was previously sold in December to Cambodian businessman Vong Pech, in a deal that saw him acquire 21.64% of the club, the current largest stake in City.