After the much-publicized failure of the takeover attempted by the Saudi Public Investment Fund in a consortium with Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers, we're still owned by His Lardship Michael James Wallace Ashley. A certain Henry Mauriss, CEO of Clear TV, popped up in some news, but the only piece of news I could find about the company was that the CFO mentioned in the Bloomberg profile of the company
was suing said company
. Apparently Mauriss himself was investigated by the FBI, something which I couldn't confirm.
His Lardship, however, is still in financial dire straits. His already underperforming retail properties have been obviously ravaged by the confinement and later by measures to reduce footfall. Last year he postponed the presentation of the accounts of Frasers Group (the new name for his Sports Direct empire) for a second year
in a row
. Given that he's still a keen seller and already had accepted the sale to the PIF, it's obvious that the club is for sale, provided that the PL doesn't obstruct it again with no explanations.
Apparently a new buyer has made their intentions public. The group is the Bellagraph Nova Group. The question for the discerning takeover watcher is, of course, are these guys for real? Are #cans a possibility? #Yeswecans? (this is a surprise tool that we will use later). The answer is something that is not for me to know, but I just want to provide you all of what I can find in a couple of searches because the Toon in Reddit is a wonderful place to be.
If I am to research on the Bellagraph Nova Group I'll start with the website. Sure thing, they have one
! Sure, let's start reading on it and maybe we know what they do.
Bellagraph Nova Group is a leading player on the world stage. The economic and ethical model of the BN Group guarantees a significant impact on global economic and social development.
Sure, sure, but what do they do?
BN is the only group in the world to boast an international presence in all major commercial sectors: healthcare and medical specialty, financial services and investment, luxury and real estate, discretionary consumers, products & services, lifestyle, entertainment, technology and media.
Ok, so they're a conglomerate. 31 "entities", 12 billion in revenues, 23,000 employees. Any idea of what these "entities" are?
A leader in six different main sectors, our Group counts more than 23,000 employees and 31 prestigious Entities operating in all countries around the world.
Red Flag: if you are so proud of your Entities and their Employees, you could at least name them!
Given that they don't tell us what they do, maybe we can know who they even are? Yes, we can! They are present in the most heavily retouched picture I've ever witnessed in my life
. The gentlemen are Terence (L) and Nelson (R) Loh, and the lady is Evangeline Shen. The three appear as co-founders, while she also figures as CEO.
So, if you keep scrolling downward on the site, can we spot the famous man? Yes we can! Apparently these three managed to meet Barack Obama! For what, is the question? We'll come to that later, or maybe not.
First of all, the press releases
portion of the corporate website gives us some more insight. The first entry is from the 15th of June, and it's a merger announcement with the DORR Group of Companies. By itself, that's not too enlightening at first, but then I found a Wikipedia article about a Novena Global Lifecare
group, which is a goldmine:
Novena Global Lifecare Group was founded in 2010 by cousins Terence Loh and Nelson Loh, both former investment bankers at J.P. Morgan. Nelson found the idea of forming a medical aesthetic group when he found that his mother’s medical aesthetic bills running into thousands of dollars. One of their early investments was a KOSDAQ-listed medical equipment manufacturer in South Korea to develop their own research and manufacturing arm of the group. They also took interests in healthcare companies in Taiwan as well as the PPP chain of clinics in Singapore, renaming it to NOVU and NOVU Genesis. Prior to founding Novena Global, Terence and Nelson co-founded DORR Group, an Asia-based private equity group which invested in the consumer, internet, media and healthcare spaces.
So, the Nohs are Singaporean cousins, the family is obscenely rich if Momma Noh can rack up thousands of dollars in her beauty sleep, and they used used to work for JP Morgan before founding this DORR thing. There's also a very kind (to them) and informative profile
which also gives us some more information: Nelson is now 40, and Terence is 42. They love gambling, DORR's name comes from Ocean's 11, and Novena actually makes money on a real thing (cosmetic healthcare for Asian customers).
That's all right for the cousins (for now), but who is Evangeline Shen? She's the founder of Bellagraph, the other part of the conglomerate. According to the press release on the merger
, that group has investments in jewelry, and
is most notably famed for holding the world record for highest ever online single sale transaction of US$102 million (across all product categories globally)
Shen graduated from a Chinese university, but I can't ascertain the nationality she has and I am unable to find anything on her family. I'm pretty sure that someone in China would be able to unearth more juice out of her story, because the way it's told right now it seems like she's sprung from Zeus's skull like Athena.
The press release mentions that they're getting the group headquartered in Place Vendôme, no.10 in Paris. Just for reference, real estate in that place is valued at more than €14000 per square meter
The question that has been building up during this whole writing is clear: apparently these three have the money, but what is the plan that 3 Singaporean millionaires whose empire is built around cosmetic healthcare and jewelry, who have just got an office in one of the swankiest places on earth, have for Newcastle United Football Club? There are no apparent synergies, the club is decidedly unglamorous, and they seem to have zero experience on managing sports clubs. Singaporean millionaires from outer space like Peter Lim seldom work out well, as Valencia is now experiencing.
TL;DR these three are Singaporean toffs and why they'd be interested in the club is unclear, although they're politically uncontroversial. I don't foresee any #cans.