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October 8, 2009

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Yeung finishes Birmingham takeover

HONG Kong businessman Carson Yeung's takeover of Birmingham was completed on Tuesday after his investment company Grandtop Holdings took its share ownership past the 90 percent mark.

The stock exchange announcement means that Grandtop can now complete a compulsory purchase of the remaining shares with a view to taking the club off the Alternative Investment Market and into private ownership.

Grandtop, which now owns 94 percent of Birmingham, already held a 29.9 percent stake.

"We've exchanged contracts but we haven't actually handed over the keys," said David Gold, who hopes to remain chairman of the club. "They are looking to take this club forward and from all the investigations and work that has been done to ensure these people are of the right caliber, I am confident that this is the case.

"This is a day of opportunity and we should grasp it optimistically."

Yeung must now begin the job of winning over Birmingham fans, after his failed takeover attempt in the 2007-08 season was partly blamed as a factor in the club's relegation from the Premier League.

"We are looking forward to a new era," manager Alex McLeish said. "There is a buzz about the place and the fans and they are anticipating another step forward.

"I am looking forward to working with the new owners. I am ambitious and they are ambitious and, of course, if there is money to spend, we would welcome it. It is exciting times and something I have great anticipation for."

Chief executive Karren Brady and chairman David Sullivan had already announced they would leave if the takeover went through.


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