March 7, 2014 / 12:30 PM / in 4 years

Soccer-Birmingham suffer new blow as stake sale falls through

LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - Birmingham City suffered a double blow on Friday when the sale of a stake in the second tier English soccer club fell through hours after the team owner was jailed in Hong Kong.

A little-known Beijing advertising firm had agreed last month to buy a 12 percent stake in the club for HK$45 million ($5.8 million) but the deal was scrapped after the buyer failed to come up with the cash.

“The Board announces that the Purchaser has failed to make the relevant deposit when due,” the club’s Hong Kong-based parent company Birmingham International Holdings said.

“Accordingly, the Company takes this as a breach of the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) and rescinds the binding MOU,” it added in a statement.

The collapse of the deal adds to the uncertainty facing the club after a Hong Kong court jailed owner Carson Yeung for six years for money-laundering.

Yeung, 54, who was found guilty by a Hong Kong court on five counts of money-laundering some HK$721 million over several years, is a flamboyant self-made millionaire.

He bought Birmingham City in 2009 but stepped down last month as head of the club and its holding company.

Club officials said this week that his conviction would have no impact on day-to-day operations at Birmingham.

Birmingham won the League Cup in 2011 when they beat Arsenal in the final but suffered relegation from the Premier League the same season.

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