Laurence Bassini has been told to put up or shut up by Birmingham where he faces a final deadline this week to complete his proposed buy-out.
Former Watford chairman Bassini, who was declared bankrupt in the past, has previously unsuccessfully tried to take over Oldham,Charlton and Bolton. He has been on the trail of Championship Brum since last year when his interest was revealed.
Now Birmingham might soon be added to the list of failed attempts as Bassini battles to pay up. City’s owners are very restless as Bassini is still to yet buy-out their largest shareholder ,Vong Pech, who has agreed to sell his 21.64% stake with the backing of the club’s board.
Bassini has signed a ‘special price agreement’ (SPA) for the stake as part of a two-year plan to own the whole club in a deal worth £36.5million, which includes the stadium. But MirrorSport understands the agreement is due to expire later this week if Bassini is unable to pay.
Bassini has already admitted he must loan £10m in order to attempt the deal and has held talks with ex-Blues owner and West Ham chief David Sullivan about borrowing money. Birmingham officials want Bassini to now belatedly pay up after his public declarations – including claiming he would replace boss Lee Bowyer with Mark Warburton.
Any deal would also be subject to EFL approval and, as of close of play on Friday, no paperwork about Bassini and Brum has yet been lodged for the league to review. A rival group headed by fashion mogul Paul Richardson and ex-Argentine striker Maxi Lopez have also previously submitted an offer for Blues which they insist still stands.
Lifelong Blues fan Richardson and Lopez are waiting in the wings to see if their proposal could be accepted instead if Bassini misses his final deadline. Richardson is a successful fashion tycoon who is the former CEO and founder of Gymshark who is now involved with Hera clothing. He is believed to have as much as £20m to invest into Blues.
There is growing urgency at St Andrews over a takeover as Birmingham are losing money and have needed regular cash injections from the Far East to prop up the club.
If no takeover happens, City, who finished 20th last term, will be able to limp on but officials are under pressure to cut their wage bill – which included paying Manchester United loanee Tadith Chong £40,000-a-week last term.
Parent company Birmingham International Holdings Limited are now keen to exit in return for staged payments , plus an additional promotion bonus if Blues are promoted within four years.