The other day we heard that one of Björgolfur Guðmundsson’s (yes, our owner) final assets (?) the Straumur-Burdaras investment bank was taken over by the Icelandic government.
(BG and his son has a 34 per cent stake in Straumur through their company Samson Global Holdings).
This has implications for the well being of Hansa ehf. since Hansa owe Straumur money (Hansa, if you’ve been out of town for half a year or so, is a BG controlled holding company on the verge of bankruptcy, only fighting off creditors by being placed under a “moratorium” to give it time to sort out business. Hansa is the company through which BG owns West Ham Holding that in turn is the owner of West Ham United plc – the holder of the Premiere league licence, and this means that “sort out business” in the case of Hansa is the equivalent of selling the Club at a decent price.)
As long as BG-influenced companies were owing each other, BG and his son had at least some influence over the handling of these debts. They were hardly going to force each other to do avoidable bad business. But now the Icelandic government has taken over Straumurs role as creditor of Hansa making this a bit more insecure.
However, the government does not seem inclined to force BG to sell at any price. If it had wanted that to happen they could have done so by opposing the moratorium now.
Today we hear from the Guardian that MP bank, the bank that has previously opposed a prolongation of the moratorium of Hansa, is now going along with a second 3 month extension of the moratorium (read HERE and HERE about the moratorium and the first prolongation). This means that BG will still have some influence over things at Hansa, meaning the sale of West Ham for another 3 months.
But the real news in this: the reason MP Bank dropped its opposition was that the ability of BG (or actually BG’s son) to have “first refusal” on the sale of the Club. As far as I understand, this weakens the position of the current owners and clears some obstacles on the road to a sale of the Club.
Do you find that too straight forward?
Well have no fear, it may become much more complicated!
According to Bloomberg News, players in the financial market is now speculating in the bankruptcy of the entire country of Iceland (and you thought you had problems…)! By taking the control over the last major bank of Iceland the country “is now assuming responsibility for more deposit guarantees, and the question is whether the Icelandic state is big enough to bear the burden.”
In the hands of the International Monetary Fund IMF the Icelandic government policies may be substantially tougher when it comes to collecting debts!