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Does takeover bring cause for optimism or not?

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...

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The Journalist

Writer: Tom Bodell Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday April 2 2011

Time: 8:38AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
The jury is still out, the problem is, most people do not like change. The fact is. Lord A, had given the club a year to come up with new owners. He also wanted his bonds paid back in June, would he have extended the deadline? Only he knows. AFAIK there were only two serious enquirys for the club, one being from a convicted criminal, the other from a bankrupt. When you run, own your business, it can be a fine line between failure and success. No one wants to be declared bankrupt and at times it can happen through no fault of your own. Not that I have been declared bankrupt, but I do own my own business. We do not know where the money has come from, we may never know, but he has renegotiated the pay back of the bonds, now spread over 5 years with hardly any additional cost, how the payments for those are to be made are another question. So now there seems to be a plan for the next 5 years, which brings a stability, something we have not really seen over the last 5 years. I do know that [Edited by wfc123]
Report Abuse
03/04/2011 10:46:00

Fair point re. Jack Petchy. I think also it's worth saying we thought we knew about Simpson and the Russo's, we knew more about their backgrounds and so on and where the money or otherwise was coming from. Ultimately we were let down by those. Obviously I want Bassini and Thomas to be genuine people for the good of the club, but I have many reservations. I hope for their sake as much as our own, that there is a Q+A or something before the next AGM where they can get their message across.
Report Abuse
03/04/2011 11:30:00

I agree Tom, we all want what is best for the club and yes I hope the new owners are genuine. If the club delist, does that not mean, no more AGM? As there are no more share holders! I think we all feel like mushrooms, but this time we have not been fed anything. Let us hope that in the next few weeks, someone will step up and out line what is in store for the future.
Report Abuse
03/04/2011 11:44:00

Didn't click re. AGM, but of course. Which makes some sort of supporter address or open forum even more important, because I think from my point of view as well as others it's the secrecy we all worry about. Taylor and co. remaining directors is important too.
Report Abuse
03/04/2011 11:46:00

Go back over the years Bonser, even Sir Ej, the club has always been run as a closed shop, the period on the AIM would be the most open this club has ever been, be it that we are viewing the accounts of the club. GT has aknowledged his naivety on the business front and I suspect that if he thought things were not right, he would see his position untenable, then we may be worried!
Report Abuse
03/04/2011 17:20:00

GT has also backed the de-listing as it is. Maybe I'm not so worried about that part afterall.
Report Abuse
03/04/2011 18:02:00

GT has also backed the de-listing as it is. Maybe I'm not so worried about that part afterall.
Report Abuse
03/04/2011 18:02:00

Hey we are famous! points peoples to this site....
Report Abuse
03/04/2011 22:32:00

Fantastic! Can't argue with free advertisement!
Report Abuse
04/04/2011 11:30:00


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