DAVE KING’S plan for Rangers has become clearer this afternoon with the announcement that Mike Ashley has sold his 9% stake in the company that operates the club.
King appears to have brought a financial contact of his from Hong Kong together with supporters’ group Club 1872 to buy out Ashley at a very generous rate of 27.5p per share.
This means that Ashley today walks away with over £2million for the penny shares that the initial board run by Charles Green was handing out. A million pounds of this money has come from ordinary supporters who have been paying direct debit contributions for some time in order to assist the start up business.
King announced earlier in the week that the retail stand-off between him and Ashley was over and called off the supporter boycott of all Rangers merchandise.
Ashley’s Sports Direct though said nothing but today they will be slapping each other on the backs at the Shirebrooke HQ on the outskirts of Mansfield.
This may not be the biggest deal Ashley has ever pulled off but it is one of the most remarkable. His retail units are now doing tremendous business selling theist season’s Rangers shirts and he has turned some practically worthless shares into a £2million profit.
Ashley’s shares have been bought by supporters group Club 1872 and Julian Wolhardt, the chief executive of Dehong Capital Partners, the Hong Kong based private equity firm. King introduced emergency finance into the company that operates the club last winter from Hong Kong sources.
This latest development sees Club 1872 become the 2nd largest shareholder in Rangers International Football Club with 10.71% of the club.
In their statement issued earlier today, Club 1872 expressed their delight at the share purchase.
“Club 1872 is delighted to announce the purchase of a significant block of shares in Rangers International Football Club PLC (RIFC) – representing 4.46% of the total shares in the company. These shares have been purchased from MASH Holdings Limited.
“Club 1872’s acquisition takes our shareholding in RIFC over 10%, a significant marker in our progress as a shareholder / investor in RIFC. We now hold 10.71%, making Club 1872 the second largest shareholder in RIFC.
“We are delighted that our members’ support for Club 1872 has brought us to a point where we can acquire these shares and complete the process of restoring control of RIFC to those who view the footballing success of Rangers FC as being just as important as RIFC’s careful stewardship financially.”
Some Rangers supporters will be concerned that this £2million is not being invested into the company that operates the club but instead going out to military checking account of multi-billionaire. For him it might be small change but for a start up company beset by court cases and one financial crisis after another it could have been an important revenue source.
King will now hope to press ahead with yet another share issue but with his outstanding court case with the Takeover Panel currently in the Court of Session he could find the initiative frustrated as he receives the Cold Shoulder.
King is playing a high risk game at Ibrox, mostly with other people’s money.