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Cardiff City’s Tan Said to Study Singapore IPO With CIMB

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Malaysian Billionaire Vincent Tan
Vincent Tan, owner of Cardiff City Football Club (Holdings) Ltd., center, looks on before the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Swansea at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff on Nov. 3, 2013. Photographer: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan hired CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. to explore an initial public offering of Cardiff City Football Club (Holdings) Ltd. in Singapore, a person familiar with the matter said.

The Welsh soccer club, playing in England’s top-flight premier league for the first time since 1962, may list on Singapore’s Catalist market for small companies, said the person, asking not to be named as the information is private. Tan, who first acquired a stake in Cardiff City in 2010, has yet to work out the details as plans are still in the early stages, the person said.

Cardiff’s promotion to the English Premier League this season coincided with the start of a new television contract, the richest in soccer, which guarantees the lowest-ranked of the division’s 20 clubs about 60 million pounds ($98 million) for the first year. Malaysia’s Star newspaper reported on the listing plan earlier today, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Tan wasn’t immediately available for comment when phoned at his office in Kuala Lumpur today.

Tan and business partner Chan Tien Ghee acquired an initial 36.1 percent stake in Cardiff City for about 29 million ringgit ($9 million), inheriting debts that could have amounted to 145 million ringgit at the time of the deal, according to the Star report. Tan, who controls Malaysia’s Berjaya Group, owns 51 percent of Cardiff City, according to the club’s website.

Lottery Business

Most Premier League teams are privately held. Manchester United raised $233.3 million in a U.S. initial public offering last year. The club, controlled by the Glazer family, scrapped plans for a Singapore IPO as volatile stock markets roiled equity sales, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

Berjaya Sports Toto Bhd., a lottery operator controlled by Tan, this week abandoned plans to list a business trust in Singapore, citing challenging market conditions.

Tan is also considering listing his online payments company MOL Global Pte, four years after purchasing social networking site Friendster Inc., people familiar with the matter said Nov. 26. Earlier this year, he completed first-time share sales for Caring Pharmacy Group Bhd., which raised 43.8 million ringgit, and Berjaya Auto Bhd., which raised 57.9 million ringgit, according to their respective listing prospectuses.

To contact the reporter on this story: Barry Porter in Kuala Lumpur at bporter10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net

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