The Rangers board have rejected the 18 million offer for the club from Phoenix Suns’ owner Robert Sarver, saying that it undervalues the club in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.
The statement read: “The Board of Rangers has considered the possible offer from Robert Sarver. The proposal by Mr Sarver comprises a placing of 100 million shares at 18p (“Placing”) which, if approved by shareholders at a general meeting, would be immediately followed by an unconditional offer at 18p pursuant to Rule 9 of the Code. The Placing would give Mr Sarver control of Rangers.
“While the Directors welcome Mr Sarver’s approach, they believe that, notwithstanding the current financial difficulties, the proposal does not adequately value a controlling interest in the Company and accordingly the resolution to approve the placing is unlikely to achieve the 75% majority required. The Directors do not intend to hold the General Meeting which would be necessary to implement the proposal.”
The club recently received a 500,000 crisis loan from shareholder Sandy Easdale to avoid a potential winding up order by HM Revenue & Customs – secured against the funds from the 850,000 sale of youngster Lewis MacLeod to Brentford at the start of the January transfer window.
Despite needing 8 million to see out the remainder of the season, the Rangers board claimed they were ‘managing its cash resources carefully’.
It added: “The Company is managing its cash resources carefully and will require further funding before the end of January. The Directors are in discussions with Rangers’ significant stakeholders with a view to arranging finance for the Club. This is likely to comprise loans in the short term and possibly equity in the medium term. The board has invited Mr Sarver to consider participating in a similar discussion alongside other supportive shareholders.”
Meanwhile, Sarver has issued his own statement via the Stock Exchange.
Sarver e said: “My three sons all play soccer, as we call it here in the US, for Davie’s [Robertson] club. Initially, I’d had some of my advisors examining potential investments in teams in the English Premier League and in Spain, but Davie encouraged me to take a close look at Rangers.
“Like all Rangers fans, he’s really upset about how far the club has fallen in recent years and the more we spoke, the more interested I became.
“I’d be the first to admit that I’m not a lifelong Rangers supporter, but anyone who knows me is aware that I’m a genuine sports fanatic and owning two major basketball franchises for the past decade has been an enormous privilege.
“I’ve spent the vast majority of my career in public companies and I’m used to working in very highly regulated environments. I understand the crucial importance of business integrity and transparency.
“Rangers fans have every right to be wary about someone showing an interest in the club they love, especially given some of the events of recent years.
“First and foremost I believe what the club needs today is a very quick, major injection of capital to stabilise things and I can give the Rangers supporters a categorical assurance that I have the resources and ability to get this club back to its elite level.
“I’m looking forward to building a consensus amongst supporters and prominent Rangers-minded figures who have the long-term success of the club at heart.
“I’ve had detailed research carried out on Rangers and I’m convinced that we could take it back to the top of the Scottish game on a stable and sustainable basis.”
Former Rangers player David Robertson, who got Sarver interested in the Ibrox side, commented: “I’ve known Robert for several years. He has been very supportive of our local club [Phoenix FC] and has a very good reputation in the US.
“When he said he was looking to invest in football in Europe, I told him right away that Rangers could really be doing with someone with his track record. I explained how far the club has fallen, but that there was huge potential to rebuild it.
“Even though I’m now based over here, I always watch really closely how things are going at Ibrox and it’s tragic to see how a club which was once a force in Europe has been brought so low.
“I can tell every Rangers fan in Scotland and abroad, if Robert Sarver is successful in becoming part of the club, he’ll not rest until they are back on top again.”
However, it appears that the American businessman made his move too late as Dave King and the Three Bears consortium snapped up a significant number of shares a week before he declared his interest officially.