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Birmingham City: Another home defeat as takeover looms nearer

Former Birmingham starlet, Sone Aluko returned to haunt his former club on Saturday as they dug a hole for themselves in falling to defeat again at St Andrew’s. This time 3-2 to Hull City.

Aluko made a solitary appearance as a substitute before leaving for Aberdeen in 2008, scored twice in an early 12-minute spell to put Hull in control. Birmingham made a fight of it in the second half but the defeat leaves them struggling in the wrong half of the Championship table.

The takeover of the club can't come soon enough for most fans. According to the Birmingham Daily Mail, Gianni Paladini’s Italian consortium is moving closer – with the businessman hopeful a deal can be struck within 10 days.

The news comes as the group were granted permission to look through the books of parent company, Birmingham International Holdings Limited.

A second, improved bid worth around £30 million was formally lodged with Carson Yeung and Peter Pannu almost a fortnight ago.

Although it was rejected, negotiations continued about its actual structure.

Now, slowly but surely, it appears that Paladini and his people are near to finalising matters.

“We want to get a deal done very soon,” said former QPR chairman Paladini.

“I am hopeful that we can get something agreed within the next 10 days.

 “We have spent a lot of money trying to get this completed and are looking through the books. We are keen to get it all sorted by the end of next week.”

The bid revolves around an initial £17 million down payment, with the rest in instalments.

Lawyers representing both parties have been arranging the finer details.

Pannu, Blues acting chairman and chief executive officer and managing director of BIHL, has been leading the sale process.

He had interest from a mystery Chinese-Hong Kong consortium, but that appears to have fizzled out.

Certainly, the Italian group’s bid is the most serious and the only formal one to have been put before Yeung and Pannu.

Although Paladini is keen for matters to be sorted within 10 days, any formal changeover in power will take a lot longer.

An EGM of BIHL has to be called and shareholders need to vote on the bid. That could be a four week process, at least.

BIHL’s main asset is Blues. It has a 96 per cent stake in the club.

Yeung, The club's president, has 26 per cent of BIHL.

Yeung is due to stand trial in Hong Kong to answer charges relating to alleged £59.7 million worth of money laundering on November 28.

But the outcome of his court case - either way - is not necessarily going to impact on the potential sale of the club.

KN

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