Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Saturday April 2 2011
LAST NIGHT the offer by Laurance Bassini (Lawrence Bazini) and Panos Thomas to buy a controlling stake in Watford became `wholly unconditional`. My financial and business knowledge is somewhat lacking, I just about cope with the BOGOF offers at my local corner shop, but this spells trouble, even to me.
Bar any sort of monumental change of circumstances or seismic shift in this deal, Watford are now owned by a previously bankrupt businessman and his knee surgeon mate. Bassini (the business man of the two) has a string of failed business' behind him and according to certain sources, has relied largely on borrowing, and from his mother at that.
All bodes rather well doesn`t it?
I`m of a suspicious nature, full stop. But this pair do not fill me with any sort of confidence, more dread. As well as ousting Julian Winter when the deal goes through (to a degree), they`re bringing a lady onto the board who in her own words is 'not sure what her role will be`.
Evidently men with a plan...
Well actually they are - Bassini and Thomas intend to pay back the bond warrants in staggered payments - fair enough. But in failing to meet this summer`s deadline they trigger a further dilution of shares in the company which means their 50-odd percent quickly becomes 90-odd percent.
Convenient, the conspiracy-mongers amongst you might say.
With a 90-odd percent stake in the company, Bassini and Thomas can de-list the company from the stock exchange and take it private. Sure this means less red tape, but at the same time it means few checks and balances. Any remaining shares become worth nothing and the shareholders voices become strangled.
Bassini and Thomas can do as they please, we needn`t find out.
This is largely guesswork based on the loose information we have been provided with during these negotiations and the single shred of hope I hold onto is that GT, Julian Winter and co do not strike me as the sort of people who would crassly toss control of this football club in a pit of bears. However, everyone has a poker face and Bassini and Thomas could be world-class bluffers, we simply do not know.
I`d be less apprehensive if they weren`t planning to take the company private. I`d be less apprehensive if Bassini hadn`t been bankrupt. I`d be less apprehensive if Bassini hadn`t previously been Bazini. I`d be less apprehensive if they were well-known, well-established and evidently well-off businessman of the highest repute.
All in all, I don`t know if I could be more apprehensive...
Date:Saturday April 2 2011
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