Briatore expresses interest in taking over Birmingham City

The former QPR chief and Formula One team boss is heading a consortium also including former Loftus Road colleague Gianni Paladini that is keen on buying the Championship club
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

An Italian consortium led by Flavio Briatore has made a move to take over Birmingham City, has learned.

The former QPR co-owner has informally expressed his interest in buying the financially stricken Championship club.

Sources have told that the flamboyant ex-Formula One boss and former Rangers chairman Gianni Paladini are keen on investing in Birmingham but have not yet made formal contact with the club.

Birmingham majority owner Carson Yeung, who led the consortium that bought the Midlands-based club for £81.5 million, is keen to sell after a troubled three-year spell at the helm.

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Despite winning the 2011 Carling Cup, Birmingham have been dogged by cash-flow problems and were landed with a transfer embargo last season after failing to file their accounts on time following relegation from the Premier League.

Paladini, who left QPR last summer soon after Tony Fernandes bought the west London club, admitted his involvement in the takeover bid on Wednesday but publicly denied that Briatore is involved.

However, it is understood that Briatore wants a dramatic return to English football 12 months after selling his stake in QPR and is testing the temperature among Birmingham supporters before formally showing his hand.

Paladini was Briatore’s close ally during his controversial four-year spell as co-owner of QPR with billionaire Bernie Ecclestone.

Solihull-based Paladini formally left QPR three months after Briatore and Ecclestone sold their majority stake in the club last year to Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes.

The Italian helped broker Briatore and Ecclestone’s Rangers takeover but is not believed to have the funds required to take over a club of Birmingham's standing.

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