Clash of the titans as Ipswich takes on Liverpool Prepare for a battle of the titans next week, when PCCW squares off against US hedge fund Elliott Capital Advisors. In one corner is PCCW's special-purpose company Ipswich, and in the other is Elliott's unit, Liverpool. The hedge fund has been squirreling away Pacific Century Premium Developments (PCPD) shares in the hope of forcing a higher privatisation offer from Prince Richard's telecommunications flagship. PCPD shareholders have to decide next week on whether to accept PCCW's proposal. Elliott owns 369.1 million PCPD shares, or 15.76 per cent, after spending a total of HK$1.05 billion buying shares close to PCCW's privatisation offer price of HK$2.85 a share. Separately, PCPD said it had received a proposal to buy its Beijing Pacific Century Place for about HK$4.1 billion. The timing of the proposed asset sale is interesting, coming just a week before the minority shareholders' vote. Observers say the disposal appears to send a message to shareholders that PCCW could still asset-strip PCPD if its privatisation offer is foiled. PCCW, through Ipswich, bought a Chai Wan office unit for HK$51 million on February 18, one day after Elliott, via Liverpool, first disclosed that it had a 5.21 per cent stake in PCPD. How Elliott votes could make or break the privatisation deal, given that it owns 41 per cent of the voting shares (PCCW, with 61.5 per cent of PCPD, cannot vote for the deal.) Last year, Elliott vowed to vote down Henderson Investment's privatisation but instead chose to accept a revised offer for a windfall profit of almost HK$300 million. It is hard to predict the outcome but football fans would know how to bet in a match between Liverpool and Ipswich. Time out for Grandtop Still with English soccer, shares of Grandtop International, the majority shareholder in Birmingham City Football Club, were suspended yesterday. The Carson Yeung Ka-shing-owned firm is expected to issue a statement after its 33 per cent controlled London-listed firm was suspended amid a corruption investigation. Birmingham City managing director Karren Brady and co-owner David Sullivan were questioned by police, according to the British press. Birmingham City, ranked fourth from the bottom in the Premier League, is fighting to avoid relegation. HK$5m and still baking Quiz of the day: How much is Tai Cheong Bakery worth as a business? Answer: HK$5 million as of last year. Listed company Tao Heung Holdings yesterday confirmed that it paid HK$1 million in November for a 20 per cent stake in Chris Patten's favourite bakery shop. Not bad for a bakery that sells 2,000 egg tarts a day. Victor Li's money It emerges that Li Ka-shing's elder son, Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, was linked to providing financing for Oasis Hong Kong Airlines. Cheung Kong (Holdings) yesterday confirmed that it had provided a loan to people connected to Oasis, stressing that the loan was of a personal nature. Cheung Kong was neither a shareholder, nor a creditor. Mr Li was known to be keen on aviation investment. He attempted, but failed, to bail out Air Canada. This time he played it safe. We gather that he lent money to Oasis chairman Reverend Raymond Lee Cho-min at a high interest rate. HK$11m for the chairman Still with Victor Li, the Cheung Kong Infrastructure chairman has received his first eight-digit bonus cheque from the company. Last year, Mr Li received a compensation of HK$11.07 million, up 37 per cent. More about his (and his lieutenants') earnings will be made available in the next two weeks when the always generous Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa issue their annual reports.