Chair of Hull City Bidder GreaterChina Arrested in Hong Kong

  • Company says Yip’s arrest doesn’t have material adverse impact
  • GreaterChina had agreed to $166 million deal for soccer club

The chairman of a Hong Kong-based company that said it had a deal to buy British soccer club Hull City was arrested in the former British colony.

David Yip, also executive director at GreaterChina Professional Services Ltd., was taken into custody by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the company said in a statement on Thursday. No reason was given for the arrest, which has “no material adverse impact” on the business and operations of GreaterChina, it said in the statement.

Michael Hui, an ICAC spokesman, declined to comment. A spokeswoman for GreaterChina declined to comment. The company, valued at $331 million, saw its stock fall 6.8 percent Friday.

GreaterChina, which describes its main businesses as asset appraisal and advisory work, advertising and financial services, said in October that it had agreed to buy Hull City for 130 million pounds ($166 million). The pact wasn’t legally binding and hadn’t been concluded, the company said.

Also arrested by ICAC on Thursday was Kelvin Luk, founder of another Hong Kong-listed asset appraiser, Roma Group Ltd. Roma’s offices were searched by anti-corruption agents on Wednesday.

Roma and GreaterChina are joint shareholders in asset valuation firm Greater China Appraisal Ltd., whose clients include mining and property companies. Luk said by phone that his arrest related to a personal matter and was not connected to Greater China Appraisal.

At least one other bidder was interested in purchasing Hull City at the time of GreaterChina’s deal, a person familiar told Bloomberg News. Hull City saw a previous approach from a separate Chinese bidder collapse earlier last year.

Yip said in an interview last year that GreaterChina was looking for investors to help finance the transaction and that he hoped to close the deal in the first half of this year.

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