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Rangers delisted as their toxic reputation forces stock market action

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This website asked last month if delisting was Dave King’s end game – it has now become apparent that Rangers had no other choice.

While they may try to peddle positivity in their PR rhetoric filled statement to the London Stock Exchange – the hard truth is that no NOMAD was willing to do business with a financial basket case like Rangers and tax criminal Dave King.

The stock market regulators also looked at Rangers and had enough of their farcical business dealings. But despite claims that the current Rangers board all passed muster, the city had other ideas and decided to blow the whistle on dealing with them.

Dave King was always the main stumbling block to any NOMAD as well as the stock market regulators – and that is why they are now delisting. WH Ireland or any other potential NOMAD would have certainly taken up the role at Rangers without Dave King trying to secure a seat on the board. With his continued demands for his own blazer, tie and brogues – that was the major stumbling block to anyone doing business with Rangers.

Despite this, the current regime are pinning the blame solely on the previous regime – an easy out for them really and an excuse they will continue to use for a while yet. Why would the city and a NOMAD care about a previous regime when a new ‘good Rangers men’ one had taken control? Surely their running of the club would see a NOMAD more confident of their business dealings along with the city’s fears being reduced?

At the time of the EGM when the previous regime were ousted from power, Dave King claimed that he had ‘another NOMAD willing to come in’ who has ‘already done due diligence’.

Quoted at the time, King commented: “All I have done is, in advance of the change of board, ensured there is another Nomad willing to come in. The club has to appoint them so that process can only happen after the general meeting.

“I’ve got one [lined up]who has done due diligence on the individuals but the key component for any Nomad is the club itself. Nomads are concerned about the financial affairs of the club. It’s the one area where I’ve been able to give no more input than what I’ve read in the newspapers.

“If we succeed tomorrow, and I think we will, then we will get it [NOMAD] immediately. It’s a process that would be done in a day or so.”

Today’s statement claimed: “The prospective nomad completed its checks on the “fit and proper” status of the existing and the proposed additional director of the company and confirmed to the company that it was satisfied on both fronts.

“It then carried out its own assessment of the Company’s profile over the last several years and the issues which had been encountered. [Issues including those caused by the new regime’s sabre rattling and boycotts]

“We understand this process involved discussions with the Exchange. We were advised that, following this process, the prospective Nomad was unable to take up appointment. We also understand that any alternative Nomad is liable to encounter similar difficulties and therefore the Company requires to terminate its listing on AIM.

“This is no reflection on the current Board or on the financial condition or prospects of the Company. It is simply the result of the well documented failings in corporate governance and management of those who previously controlled the Company.

“The Company understands that this resulted in AIM receiving more complaints about the Company than any other company on its Exchange over the last year. We appreciate and understand the difficulties this presented for AIM.”

Complaints instigated by the Union of Fans, Sons of Struth and Rangers Supporters Trust led by the likes of disgraced former Director Chris Graham calling for fans to put pressure on the city. Difficulties faced by AIM all of the making of the current regime who wanted control of the club at all cost – even if it forced administration.

Surely the historical issues that the NOMAD and the exchange would have had would be linked with the previous regime and not the new regime of ‘good Rangers men’? Or was it more down to the reputational issues with the company and those in control of it now – back to the crux of the issue Mr Dave King.

Surely no NOMAD would be willing to do business with a convicted tax criminal even if he has an email from SARS to say he isn’t being blocked from holding a directors role on a company. In fact the previous NOMAD quit working with Rangers on the eve of Dave King and his entourage taking control – a clear sign of where the NOMADs see where the problem actually lies.

Now that the city are washing their hands of Rangers and Dave King, the South African-based businessman can take up his spot on the Rangers board with no opposition at all – what he planned all along in my opinion.

Despite claims that the Scottish FA are still to give their stance on King’s proposed appointment, as we reported in last month’s article they cannot stand in his way, all they can do is not recognise him and bar him from official Scottish FA committees and trips abroad.

With Rangers International FC PLC delisting from AIMs, they are looking at potentially joining the ISDX, but that is not set in stone yet as they are ‘proceeding positively and both of the platforms with which the Company is in discussion have indicated that they are keen to see the Company admitted’.

Rangers are now set to use a matched bargain trading facility through JP Jenkins – who deal with Millwall’s shares in a similar facility to the one that Rangers will be using.

This service allows investors to trade unlisted shares off-market. It is a mechanism for the exchange of shares where buyers’ and sellers’ price expectations match, enabling shareholders to buy or sell shares in companies that are not currently listed on a regulated market.

Easier said than done as only stockbrokers can deal with Jenkins, the ordinary shareholder or member of the public will have to hire a stockbroker to deal on their behalf if they look to buy or sell their stake – a slower and more costly process for the ordinary punter than that of being on the AIM.

So from this Tuesday onwards those stockholders in Rangers can trade shares privately. I wonder how many institutional investors will flog their shares then?

Now that Rangers see positives from being forcibly delisted – must be the only ones who do? They are now saving money! Great news!

It means they can remove:

  • The disproportionate amount of senior management time spent on maintaining the listing.
  • The saving of significant professional fees associated with the Admission (legal, accounting, LSE and nominated adviser).
  • Crucially, it is the Board’s view that the Company’s future capital requirements can be met by shareholders who are not concerned about the absence of an AIM listing‎.‎
  • Upon the delisting the Board will ensure that the highest levels of corporate governance are maintained. It will also ensure that the Company’s CREST facility continues.

A nomad would have forced the Rangers board to maintain the highest levels of corporate governance , but with no NOMAD they are not bound by the strict guidelines from the stock market regulators and can do what they want.

Before the EGM King claimed that the new Rangers regime would be fully transparent – ask yourself have they?

  • Did they not say a NOMAD had already done due diligence on those individuals and that once they secured control that a NOMAD would be appointed within days? Has King explained what happened fully here?
  • Dave King claimed that he would wait until the Scottish FA and stock market regulators ruled on his potential appointment to the Rangers board before making a move. Yet he then went to the court of session to try to force his appointment through. Has he came out to explain this move?
  • King also claimed that he was going to invest tens of millions of pounds into Rangers – even if he was not sitting on the Rangers board. Then Murray claimed that King was not investing in the club until the Scottish FA and regulators had decided on his fit and proper person status. Why the change?
  • These issues that the Exchange have over Rangers – why are the new regime not mentioning what these issues are? They are simply passing the buck on the previous regime citing significant complaints more than what AIMs have ever received. They failed to mention their own part to play in that complaints process – where they actively called on fans to complain to the city to aid their coup d’etat.

Imagine this for the minute…..

  • A Rangers run by the previous regime
  • A Rangers that was not undermined by former directors Dave King and Paul Murray 24/7 with the help of allies in the press and patsys in the fan groups.
  • A Rangers that was not subjected to a season ticket boycott blackmail scheme fronted by Dave King and the disgraced racist fan rep Chris Graham.
  • A Rangers that reduced the losses at the club to £2.6 million for the second half of the year ending December 2014 – although you don’t need to imagine this as the previous regime did indeed do this despite the current regime trying to pass it off as their own hard work.
  • A Rangers that was not forced to turn to Mike Ashley for emergency loans due to King and Graham’s tactics of cutting off the money to the club.

Of course that is not to say the previous regime were innocent – of course they had huge problems and caused their fair share. But to blame them solely for Rangers’ troubles is wide of the mark and naive. The current regime have their own part to play in Rangers’ current financial predicament  – but as per usual they will point the finger rather than actually take responsibility for their own actions. Sounds familiar.

Delisting is a positive for the current regime as it gives Dave King a free run into the board room and not having to adhere to the strict governance and rules of the stock market.

I wonder how long the honeymoon period will last with these ‘good Rangers’ men? One month on and there are already some questioning their motives and intentions.

More worrying times ahead for Rangers fans and those who invested money into the club.

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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