Birmingham City: Chinese firm to buy £3.5m stake in Blues

A Chinese advertising firm has agreed to buy a 12% stake at Championship side Birmingham City.

Beijing Liangzhu International Media has struck a deal to pay £3.5m for the shares in Birmingham City PLC.

In return, it will appoint two directors to the board at St Andrew's.

The club say that the deal will bring in vital money and give them a foothold in the important Chinese market, but the new investment comes too late for the January transfer window.

Blues back on the Stock Exchange

Chinese-owned Birmingham City Football Club's parent company, Birmingham International Holdings Ltd, resumed trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange last week for the first time in two years - following club chairman Carson Yeung's resignation.

Blues boss Lee Clark, whose team stand 18th in the Championship, nine points clear of the relegation zone, might have been able to make a major impact in the transfer market had the investment come a fortnight ago.

Instead, Clark had to operate almost entirely in the loan market, taking Manchester United trio Federico Macheda, Tyler Blackett and Tom Thorpe and Manchester City pair Albert Rusnak and Emyr Huws, as well as bringing in Aaron Martin following his release by Southampton.

But Thorpe's return to Old Trafford, after suffering an ankle ligament injury 14 minutes into his Blues debut, may yet persuade Clark to go back into the loan market.

Kyle Bartley, who starred alongside fellow loan signing Dan Burn in Blues' back four prior to Christmas, was recalled by parent club Swansea City two days before the close of the January window.

But Laudrup was sacked less than a week later - and Bartley has yet to figure in the Swans' matchday squad since his return.

Clark is still without a trio of experienced defenders, Jonathan Spector (thigh), David Murphy (knee) and Neal Eardley (knee), as well as strikers Matt Green (knee) and Akwasi Asante (hamstring).