Cardiff City IPO hits snag in Malaysia, may list in Singapore-sources
* Cardiff City could hold IPO in Singapore next year-sources
* Club backer billionaire Vincent Tan had originally planned Malaysia listing
* Club's negative cash flow falls short of Malaysia regulator's requirments
By Yantoultra Ngui
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan could list British football team Cardiff City in Singapore next year after plans for a Malaysian IPO hit a regulatory snag over the team's weak cash flow, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
The Welsh team, which is now in 15th place out of 20 in the current Premier League season, may list on Singapore's small-cap Catalist exchange, the sources told Reuters.
The deal - the size of which has not been determined - would follow Manchester United's $233.2 million listing on the New York Stock Exchange in 2012, the largest sports team initial public offering (IPO) ever.
"They are appealing to Malaysia's Securities Commission but it seems they are not proceeding anymore," one of the people said, declining to be identified as details of the deal remain confidential.
Tan, who owns 36.1 percent of the club, had initially planned for an IPO this year on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, but Cardiff City's negative operating cash flow has fallen short of the exchange's minimum requirements, the sources said. Local bank CIMB is expected to lead the listing.
Tan, a former chairman of local conglomerate Berjaya Group, was not available for comment and requests by Reuters for comment from his public relations department were not answered.
Officials at the Securities Commission were also not immediately available for comment.
IN THE TOP LEAGUE
Tan, Malaysia's ninth-richest person with a net worth of $1.3 billion according to Forbes, bought the stake in Cardiff City for an undisclosed sum in 2010.
He helped finance the team, managed by Malky Mackay and popularly known as the Bluebirds, to get into Britain's top football league last year for the first time in half a century.
Promotion to the Premier League is estimated to be worth at least 120 million pounds ($196 million) to a club in the first five years thanks to lucrative television rights deals. Although revenues will rise, clubs like Cardiff need to invest heavily in new players to ensure they are competitive.
The Cardiff City IPO would follow Tan's listing of two companies this year which raised a combined 100 million ringgit ($31 million).
A planned $250 million IPO for Seven Convenience Bhd, which runs all the 7-Eleven convenience stores in Malaysia and in which Tan also has a stake, was delayed to March next year from December as the company was still answering queries from the regulator, mainly on valuations, according to people familiar with the deal.
Tan is also exploring a $300 million IPO of Internet payment company MOL Global Pte Ltd, owner of social networking site Friendster Inc, by as early as next year, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters in November.
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