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Bolton's Accounts for year ending 30th June 2021

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boltonbonce
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Sluffy

Sluffy
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Someone posted this on ww -

Article from 'The Athletic' (a subscription based sports website)

Perhaps the surest sign of a rediscovered faith at Bolton Wanderers was the sight of more than 200 firms assembling for a business breakfast that aligned with the release of the fixtures for the new season.

This happened on June 23 in the Platinum Lounge of the University of Bolton Stadium – unthinkable as recently as 2019, when the club was 24 hours away from liquidation, with debts to hundreds of businesses, many of them local.

It would take time for many of the creditors to see their money and Football Ventures (Whites) Limited, the group of investors who rescued the club, is still untangling the mess left behind by the previous ownerships.

Much of the bridge-building has been led by chief executive Neil Hart, recruited from Burnley last summer, and commercial officer Mike Pink, who joined the club from Crystal Palace.

Even some of Bolton’s most cynical fans have told The Athletic that the club is beginning to be viewed as a safer bet than it was not so long ago and the packed room reflects that.

It is understandable, however, if the fanbase remains gossipy and conspiratorial following a decade of decline that led to the team tumbling down the leagues and almost out of existence.

And as June slipped into July, those with an appreciation of the financial challenges that have existed since Bolton’s relegation from the Premier League in 2012 were closely inspecting developments on the website of Companies House.

Aside from Derby County, Football Ventures were the last in the league pyramid to tender their accounts for the 2020-21 financial year after Ipswich Town just beat them to it. The Suffolk side at least had the excuse of being taken over during the season in question.

For a few days, it looked like Bolton had missed the June 30 deadline. Only on July 4 did the club’s books appear in public, yet it was confirmed by the United Kingdom’s business registrar that the cut-off was, in fact, met, and the delay on publishing the accounts were because of a backlog of submissions from other firms.

Having considered 41 pages of detail, football’s accountants — professional and otherwise — have declared that the results at Bolton are OK, fair to middling, not bad considering.

The reason for this judgment is that it is hardly surprising that a big club in the lower divisions would lose money, particularly with the stadium gates padlocked. The business lost almost £1.5million ($1.8m) in total. An improvement, then, as they lost £3.9million the previous year. As the report puts it, “the second year of trading for the group remained difficult”.

Football Ventures’ business plan for the club was based on healthy subsidies from a hotel and conference centre attached to the ground, but the global health crisis put paid to that. With no fans at games and reduced income from the hotel, the group’s turnover fell by a third from £9.3million in 2020 to £6.2million in 2021. They did manage to trim the wage bill from £7.4million to £6.9million, but the fall in turnover meant that for every £100 earned in regular revenue, Bolton was spending £112 on salaries.

We make that distinction about the revenue because Bolton did earn just over £900,000 from the government’s job-retention scheme, having banked just over £1million in furlough cash the year before. And there was also a one-off profit of £2.75million, thanks to the write-off of a loan.

Debt, however, remains a longer-term issue. As of June 30, 2021, Football Ventures had liabilities of £31.7million, the second highest such figure in League One. Sheffield Wednesday, now 22 years out of the Premier League, are in a league of their own in this regard, as they have financial obligations amounting to £94.3million, including a £51.1million debt to their owner Dejphon Chansiri.

Bolton, in fact, borrowed even more money after the year-end in 2020-21, as they tapped into the government’s Future Fund, a £1.1billion scheme to help innovative businesses get through the pandemic. Some eyebrows were raised at the idea of an EFL team being innovative, but it was certainly innovative of Football Ventures to apply for and get a £5million loan. Earlier this year, it was confirmed that Football Ventures had chosen not to repay the loan, which meant it was converted into shares. Yes, the UK government now owns eight per cent of Bolton Wanderers. Another vote of confidence.

On the pitch, Bolton finished 10 points outside the League One play-offs last season, but it was a campaign of two halves. Only six points above the relegation zone in January, Football Ventures loosened the purse strings and added seven new players, helping the club climb the table. Neither Bolton nor its owners could afford another campaign in the bottom tier of English football, financially or emotionally.

But can Football Ventures afford to take them any higher?

Most supporters believe that if Bolton were to return to the Championship, it would be easier to sell the club to owners with greater resources because of closer proximity of the Premier League and all of its riches. And yet there are some fans who worry that a big push for promotion might ruin the club’s finances and make any purchase less likely.

It would be overstating things to say the fanbase is divided on whether to stick or twist, but when the club began promoting its early bird discount offer on season tickets in February, rather than the usual April, there were some who immediately wondered if the club had already overreached itself in the winter window and badly needed some cash.

For the majority of fans, however, there is trust in Sharon Brittan, the public face of the ownership group. She has impressed directors at other clubs, too, and is popular at the league’s HQ, where they know just how close Bolton came to oblivion in 2019.

Brittan has also managed to bring in fresh investment this year. In January, Football Ventures agreed to issue £4million worth of new shares to a consortium of Swiss-based investors known as BMLL Limited. The deal was sealed at a game that month. They picked a good one — Bolton beat Sunderland 6-0. Sources have told The Athletic that Brittan looked like she had “won the lottery” as the group helicoptered away.

BMLL is represented on the Football Ventures board by a British-based Australian businessman called Nick Luckock. He and Brittan also sit on the board of a music publishing business called Lickd. They haven’t got this football business licked just yet, but they are learning.

Soon after the BMLL deal was completed, the club announced it had a new shirt sponsor for the coming season, Service My Car. Set up only last year by Mubarak and Ozair Puda, two local businessmen now based in Dubai, there is very little in the way of publicly-available financial information for the online-booking business.

But The Athletic understands the club performed thorough due diligence on the business, which has already paid for half of its sponsorship up front. The deal is also worth twice what Home Bargains paid for the shirt front last season.


It should also be noted that the club is trying to take an ethical stance with its commercial links. Last season, Bolton ended all of its relationships with gambling firms — a money-where-your-mouth-is step for a club that clearly struggled during the height of the pandemic.

Brittan and the other FV partners took on a huge project when they rescued Bolton, but it became even bigger when COVID-19 changed the world. The hotel was meant to be an asset but it became another liability.

The accounts filed at Companies House are, of course, now a year old, so they are showing an out-of-date picture of the business.

Speaking to The Athletic this week, Hart assured fans that the group is on the right track, on and off the pitch.

To give two more examples of the work being done by Hart and his team, Football Ventures is in talks to sell some unused land at the training ground to Bellway, a leading housebuilder, and the group has also done a profit-sharing deal with the Radisson Group that will see the Bolton Whites Hotel added to the chain’s booking platforms. The agreement means an upgrade in standards at the hotel, but additional marketing firepower should keep it busier.

“Sharon, (manager) Ian Evatt and I are a very tight triangle,” says Hart.

“We talk every day about how to take the club forward on and off the pitch and I can honestly say that in my 20-plus years in the game, I have never worked with a better club chair than Sharon.”

The bottom line at Bolton is that the club could very easily have gone the way of an expelled Bury or a bankrupt Macclesfield Town had the takeover not happened in 2019. This earned Football Ventures a lot of goodwill.

Since then, the club has earned promotion out of League Two at the first time of asking before finishing ninth in their first season back in League One – ahead of rivals like Ipswich and Charlton, where the financial challenges are similar.

What happens next will be crucial, though. Such goodwill still exists but is often caveated by comments about “naivety” or fears for Football Venture’s long-term prospects.

Sources close to the ownership group say there is no need for such concern, though, and the club have no real worries that a good season cannot fix.

Just like every club in the division, then. And that, perhaps, is another sign that the worst is behind Football Ventures.

Ten Bobsworth


El Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf

I saw this earlier, Sluffy.
It comes across to me as an article written by the financially untutored for the financially untutored.
But I must be slowing down as I’m still trying to get my head round how 412,505 times nothing plus 58,929 times £1 equals £4million.

Sluffy

Sluffy
Admin

Ten Bobsworth wrote:I saw this earlier, Sluffy.
It comes across to me as an article written by the financially untutored for the financially untutored.
But I must be slowing down as I’m still trying to get my head round how 412,505 times nothing plus 58,929 times £1 equals £4million.

Nope it doesn't make any sense at all does it Bob (that being what the document received at Companies House states).

However the Auditor has stated in his notes of the accounts that it was indeed a share issue totalling £4m and Barry pointed out that if you multiply the 412,505 shares at the £8.48476 = £350,038.774p being the full share value previously issued and add it to the £58,929 shares at £1 per share, you do get a frction over £4m.

I've no idea though why shares were sold at both £1 per share and £8.48476 per share at the same time though???

That never made any sense to me?


It's all a bit of a mess and makes you wonder (well me at least) if all these apparent 'cock-ups' have been done deliberately in order to cloud what as actually been taking place during this period???

Ten Bobsworth


El Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf

Cock-up, conspiracy?
Conspiracy, cock-up?
I dunno but wasn’t it signed off by that financial whizzo from down-under, Shane Stopcock or whatever his name is?
I’m still trying to figure out who BM and LL are.
Any offers?
Bernard Matthews and Lily Langtree?
Bette Midler and Lash LaRue?
Billy McAdams and Lord Lucan?

Sluffy

Sluffy
Admin

Bat Man and Lu Lu?

Well it does kind of makes you want to shout doesn't it!

Ten Bobsworth


El Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf

Sluffy wrote:Bat Man and Lu Lu?

Well it does kind of makes you want to shout doesn't it!
There could be three or four of ‘em.
Mike and Bernie live in Switzerland, don’t they?
No not Winters, Schumacher and Ecclestone.
And worrabout Lofty the Lion? Maybe he has a Swiss Bank account and a chalet in Klosters.
Got more spin than Warney some of these antipodean dudes.

Ten Bobsworth


El Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf

A bit like Swiss cheese, FV's CH filings do seem to be full of holes. But who are the mystery men and when did the BMLL lot actually come up with the £4m?

The accounts tell us the £4m shares were issued in exchange for cash but they don't say when that cash came in or, dare I say, whether it came in.

Is it just a coincidence that the accounts didn't get signed off until some other unnamed entity chipped in with another £2.4m on 28 June this year? The accounts say nothing about the £2.4m but FV seemed quick enough to shake off their customary lethargy to fire off a notice to Companies House about it.

Some of the Beeno natives seem to be getting a bit agitated over FV and as per usual the WW mob come up with the first thing that enters their empty heads. The ST don't seem to want to know the WW lot. I can't say I would blame them for that.

Sluffy

Sluffy
Admin

I've tried to follow the shares issued trail - a bit like Barry did earlier but not concentrating on the value but just the numbers issued.

My start point is the Confirmation Statement of 10th Jan, 2022 which shows a total of 4,125,046 A shares had been issued (presumably all paid up at that time?).

The 21st Jan allocation on the 21st/22nd/23rd Jan, 2022 (note the issue was shown to be over three days on the form - sticker on the form with a date showing 27th Jan, 2022) comprised of...

58,929 A shares paid up
412,505 A shares (unpaid), and
241,920 B shares at 0.0001p paid up and equated to 24.1920 £1 shares

58,929 + 412,505 = 471,434 (A shares) + 24.1920 (B shares) = 471,458.1920

So if we add the 4,125,046 we started with to the 471,434 we get 4,596,480 A shares and 241,920 B shares which tally's to both the total number of shares issued 4,838,400 and (if we look at the B shares equated to £1 shares ie at 24.1920) to 4,596,504.1920 (4,125,046 + 24.1920) being the aggregated nominal value.

So far, so good!

The 6th July, 2022 shares issues seem to be a little bit different in that they contained bonus shares.

The issue is listed as follows...

367,717 A shares including bonus shares

We add the 4,596,480 A shares to the 367,717 = 4,964,197 A shares

We then add to that the 241,920 B shares to give 5,206,117 which tally's with the document for total number of shares and if we add the 4,964,197 to the 24.1920 A share value equivalent we get 4,964,221.1920 being the aggregated nominal value, which again tally's with the document.

The one thing missing for me though - and what is different to this form than any similar ones I've seen before is that there is NO statement on it as to any unpaid share amounts.?

We simply do not know if the 412,505 A shares (unpaid) from the 21st January are paid up or not???

However why issue additional shares if there are some already in existence but not paid up (if that actually is the case)?

Would that mean that say the Swiss Consortium have been allocated shares and are such liable for the full paid up amount but haven't actually put anything into the pot for them and that additional shares have to be issued for additional share investment into FV?



Last edited by Sluffy on Fri Jul 29 2022, 16:08; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : Slight clarification needed to make it read a bit more easily I hope!)

boltonbonce

boltonbonce
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Lesser men would have folded by now, but Bob and Sluffy............ Very Happy

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Sluffy

Sluffy
Admin

boltonbonce wrote:Lesser men would have folded by now, but Bob and Sluffy............ Very Happy

I just see it as trying to solve a puzzle really.

I've always enjoyed puzzle solving but this one I just can't crack!

Not having a depth of knowledge on the technicalities of shares and all that that entails doesn't help me much!

boltonbonce

boltonbonce
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Sluffy wrote:

I just see it as trying to solve a puzzle really.

I've always enjoyed puzzle solving but this one I just can't crack!

Not having a depth of knowledge on the technicalities of shares and all that that entails doesn't help me much!
Yes, it's a bit like a jigsaw. Sometimes you start wondering if there's a piece missing. I think I'd better stick to word search. Very Happy

Ten Bobsworth


El Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf

boltonbonce wrote:
Yes, it's a bit like a jigsaw. Sometimes you start wondering if there's a piece missing. I think I'd better stick to word search. Very Happy
Not done a jigsaw in nearly seventy years, Boncey, but I did learn as a kid that if a piece doesn't fit, it doesn't fit and there's no point pretending it does.

I can usually smell bullshit from a mile away and, although I can see the broad outline, there's still a few pieces missing from my spreadsheet and its proving a bit of a challenge to fill in all the gaps.

Start of a new season today and our summer recruitment has been modest and our pre-season mixed. I'm expecting a bigger challenge at Portman Road than last season but lets see.

And worrabout PBP? They've been waiting six years for their money, will they get it back on Monday? I wouldn't bet more than a shilling on it.



Last edited by Ten Bobsworth on Sat Jul 30 2022, 11:09; edited 1 time in total

Ten Bobsworth


El Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf

My own spreadsheet, Sluffy, confirms that you are substantially on the right lines with your numbers but there is still some sorting of the wheat from the chaff to do.

FV has a history of unpaid shares not being paid up (in itself unusual) but I suspect it more likely that the recent issues have been paid, albeit possibly delayed.

There's also a lot that remains unexplained and there is still the nagging thought that, if it was possible to wangle £5m out of the COVID Innovation Loan scheme, why stick at £2.5m?

Apologies if this has been mentioned before but I noticed this morning that Nick Luckock ceased to be a member of HG Capital on 31 March this year.

Sluffy

Sluffy
Admin

I had for some reason had it in my mind that he'd gone sometime previous to that.  I only referred to him being at Hg just to highlight that he is some sort of venture capitalist (I'm not sure of the correct terminology, or indeed what actually is involved in such jobs in any detail really - just to point out that he is a professional money man - if you will).

I had for quite a long time thought that FV had availed themselves of at least £5m gov loans (possibly by applying for more than one round of the loan issues).  Maybe FV had to take into account EFL rules about ownership rules and that anyone acquiring more than 10% ownership of a club automatically becomes subject to them - and thus FV themselves setting a ceiling of what they practically could borrow without raising red flags with the EFL??

As for if all the shares have been full paid, the point I was really flagging up is than on all the previous SH01 forms there has always been a section stating what if any unpaid shares there were - but there wasn't one on the latest form submitted.

It probably is just an update change made in the form design rather than anything sinister but if so it does take away some of the clarity about such things that seem to have happened frequently so far with FV.

Ten Bobsworth


El Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf

He describes himself as an investment manager, Sluffy. But if you were a successful investment manager would you really want to be giving up your status and income as a member of HG Capital unless you were giving it up for something at least as good? And what has it been replaced with? Not very much from what I can see.

The incorrect Companies House returns sounded alarm bells for me. This discovery has got them ringing a bit louder.

The point you make about the EFL rules is a good one but they seemed to get round any rules before by inflating the value of the shares. Maybe they could only push it so far but my figures indicate c. £2.3m coming from some undisclosed source in October 2021 and another £2.4m shares issued 'at a discount' in June 2022 again from an undisclosed source.

And where does it all leave ownership and control? We simply don't know but, with the exception of the influence of Michael James and the PBP money, it doesn't look much like being with Wanderers supporters or Boltonians

Sluffy

Sluffy
Admin

Yes I'm sure Luckock hasn't quit an extremely wealthy career just to play football owner at BWFC.

I've had a quick look for him and it seems he now describes himself to be an 'independent investor' (maybe we will see him as one of the dragons on Dragons' Den one day!) and is now currently the Chair of UniLED,
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Chair of i-media...
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(Note, there are a number of companies with the same name and I could positively identify Luckock to this particular company but it seems to be closely related in what it does to UniLed above, so without doing any more digging I'm assuming that it is this one)

Non Exec Director of Disciple Media
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(Note, You may want to have a quick look at this company bob because it seems to be reporting a £20m loss on P and L and to also have Sharon as a fellow Director.  I'm wondering if it is being run in a similar financial strategy as FV is (£14m loss on P and L as per latest accounts?).

Non Exec Director of Lickd,
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(Note Sharon is also a fellow Director at this company)

Non Exec Director of Gentrack Ltd (Global)
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(Note, again I can't specifically link Luckock to this specific company at CH but the company seems to be an overseas company (Australia perhaps?)

and Chair of Governors of Basildon Academies.
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He doesn't seem to have any room left on his current CV to mention poor little BWFC/Football Ventures!

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(He's held some of these positions for a few years and that's probably why I had in my head that Hg wasn't his full time employment).

Ten Bobsworth


El Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf

Sluffy wrote:Yes I'm sure Luckock hasn't quit an extremely wealthy career just to play football owner at BWFC.

I've had a quick look for him and it seems he now describes himself to be an 'independent investor' (maybe we will see him as one of the dragons on Dragons' Den one day!) and is now currently the Chair of UniLED,
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Chair of i-media...
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
(Note, there are a number of companies with the same name and I could positively identify Luckock to this particular company but it seems to be closely related in what it does to UniLed above, so without doing any more digging I'm assuming that it is this one)

Non Exec Director of Disciple Media
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
(Note, You may want to have a quick look at this company bob because it seems to be reporting a £20m loss on P and L and to also have Sharon as a fellow Director.  I'm wondering if it is being run in a similar financial strategy as FV is (£14m loss on P and L as per latest accounts?).

Non Exec Director of Lickd,
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
(Note Sharon is also a fellow Director at this company)

Non Exec Director of Gentrack Ltd (Global)
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
(Note, again I can't specifically link Luckock to this specific company at CH but the company seems to be an overseas company (Australia perhaps?)

and Chair of Governors of Basildon Academies.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


He doesn't seem to have any room left on his current CV to mention poor little BWFC/Football Ventures!

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(He's held some of these positions for a few years and that's probably why I had in my head that Hg wasn't his full time employment).
Many thanks Sluffy

Interesting that he doesn't mention BWFC on LinkedIn

These are all non-exec positions. Gentrack is a New Zealand company which I assume was connected to HG Capital.

He's only joined Uniled this month

I see that Sharon and  Nick Mason are investors in big  loss-maker, Disciple Media. Sharon stepped down from the Board in 2019.

I can't see him making much of a living out of the others anytime soon.

Sluffy

Sluffy
Admin

Non Exec positions maybe but I'd imagine he be earning enough from them all in total to comfortably keep the wolf from the door.

Also they probably all add up to just a few weeks work in total, so he has plenty of time to be investing his money in companies he hasn't mentioned on his LinkedIn CV such as FV (and he wouldn't be doing that if he wasn't sure of a handsome return from it, I wouldn't think!).

Ten Bobsworth


El Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf

Sluffy wrote:Non Exec positions maybe but I'd imagine he be earning enough from them all in total to comfortably keep the wolf from the door.

Also they probably all add up to just a few weeks work in total, so he has plenty of time to be investing his money in companies he hasn't mentioned on his LinkedIn CV such as FV (and he wouldn't be doing that if he wasn't sure of a handsome return from it, I wouldn't think!).
You think so, do you Sluffy? So who do you think are paying him fees and how much?

It ain't Basildon Academies and it ain't FV. On my estimations, Nick's 'investment' in BWFC has been costing him a minimum of £500K p.a. so far and there's still some way to go.

 Maybe he thought he could afford it when he was a member of HG Capital, but now?

Did you not think that the absence of BWFC from his LinkedIn CV was a signal that he'd prefer not to be judged on his BWFC involvement? I did.

The only person that's made a handsome return from an investment in Bolton Wanderers in the last 25years is Dean Holdsworth whose investment of 50P was a risk worth taking.  A few players and managers have walked away with a handsome profit, mind you (including Doctor Holdsworth again)

Sluffy

Sluffy
Admin

Well I've never been a Non Exec Director of a company but I know the remuneration can vary from doing so voluntary for free to eye wateringly high amounts for simply a few hours work but you don't get offered them unless you are well connected in some way or other.

As for the LinkedIn site, that is basically someones CV online - it is there for looking for being employed by someone else basically - but what if you aren't looking to be employed by someone else?

I suspect Luckcok has made his millions already and is already as well connected in his field as anyone can be.  

I don't doubt that he doesn't need to work again for the rest of his life if he didn't want to and isn't deliberately seeking to wangle himself additional additional lucrative Non Exec positions but if they are offered to him, then why not?

Although he might be financially secure for life I doubt he sees seeing out the rest of his life on the beach somewhere and I would imagine he's got a number of personal projects like BWFC on the go.

I very much doubt that he's randomly turned up at BWFC to piss his millions away - so why is he here?

He's clearly knows Sharon (might even be Sharon's other half for all we know) and someone somewhere has 'pitched' an idea to him about BWFC that clearly got him involved.

We don't know what the pitch was though.

Was it Sharon with a dream of owning a football club or maybe it was one of the original property developers Eddie had employed who sold him (Sharon even?) on the potential of developing Middlebrook that Eddie was going to do before he pissed his money away keeping Bolton going?

I've no idea but someone did and that's why he's here and putting his money in and has not cut and run when he's realised the sums involved at BWFC.

I rather think Luckock decided to leave Hg to pursue his desires and not Hg giving him the push, so I doubt the loss of his salary and benefits from Hg were a factor in him going or his ability to continue financing his projects such as BWFC and others that we simply don't know about.

Whether he's on to a good thing at BWFC or not, time will tell but seeing that I don't think anyone has spotted him at a BWFC game, home or away, since he rocked up here, then I very much doubt he's here to play football club owner and more for other reasons - the most obvious being the redevelopment.

Another alternative - but not one I'm pushing - is that he could be Sharon's squeeze and simply supporting her.

The bottom line is that he is here, we don't know why, and his background is money and not football.  BWFC isn't going to make him money, a massive property development at Middlebrook on the other hand...

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