Loose lips and share issues


I remember interviewing Brian Quinn in 2005 ahead of the share issue Celtic announced would take place later that year.  For Brian, it was a relatively safe environment to speak freely, and he did on many subjects, on and off the record, but when it came down to money, the share issue and financial plans, there was a discernible pause before each answer.

Every word attributable prior to a share issue becomes a hostage of fortune, which the club had learned to its cost.

Within days of Celtic announcing this share issue a newspaper and a broadcaster (it was one journo working for both outlets) misrepresented one stated intent of the 2001 share issue to develop a Youth Academy (which Celtic did in customary winning style) as an intent to build a physical building (which Celtic didn’t, never raised enough money to do, nor included in any notice of intention or prospectus).  Readers bounced straight from the newspaper and phone-ins onto Celtic Quick News with their journalist inspired, but erroneous, complaints.  Proclaiming solid reasons not to trust Celtic at a share issue.  A muted retraction followed after the damage was done.

The short lesson from any of this is that when you advertise a public share offering you need to be careful when providing information, which casts so much of what Charles Green said yesterday in a surprising light:

“There’s not been anything underwritten in London in the past seven or eight years to my knowledge. Whenever it occurs someone takes a fee for it.”

“To my knowledge” is an enormously useful phrase.

“I’d be happy to underwrite it but what will happen is in three weeks’ time you lot (the media) will have my trousers around my ankles saying ‘Charles Green underwrit (sic) Rangers’ and took a three per cent fee when it didn’t need doing.

“The reality is we don’t need to underwrite it as there will be no shares left over.

“But if they’re not (taken up) of course we’ll take them.”
To potential investors this means a lot.  Companies raise capital because they have identified a need.  If the required sum is not raised it can jeopardise plans.  Enormously so, in some cases.  Having a share issue underwritten means that a company’s fall-back position is established.  The company knows that the minimum sum required will be realised before it takes money from investors – which, remember, is invested based on formal plans.

The phrase “of course we’ll take them” has a potential cost of £1m per letter.  The most expensive comment made in Scottish football, ‘to my knowledge’!

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  1. Tamlaghtduff Bhoy on

    If Charlie Green keeps telling people that Sevco are the biggest club in scotland, he might actually think its true!

  2. RobinBhoy,


    Interesting that reference number is 15858. I registered my “interest” late last night and my number is in the 27thousands.


    Lots of interest then so question is how many will part with case and how many just want a giggle…..


    Stupid, stupid, huns

  3. Who was the actor who’s trousers kept falling down in comedy sketches and why have I got a picture of chuckles in a similar compromising position?

  4. Gordon_J, he may be perfectly honourable but I can’t figure out why he is so loose with his comments on this subject. He could easily underwrite the share issue without charging 3%, which would give potential investors some comfort.

  5. Paul67 ,



    The phrase “of course we’ll take them” has a potential cost of £1m per letter. The most expensive comment made in Scottish football, ‘to my knowledge’!



    Drole and up to your usual standard.



    I wonder how long it’s going to take to go through all the expressions of interest and discard incorrect names , addresses and email addresses .



    If it’s being handled from down south it could take a wee while – will that affect their time scales ?



    Oh , Happy Liquidation Day to everyone.





  6. “Scottish football is broken. Attendances are not there, the gates are falling, the interest is falling and it needs to be fixed.”



    Charles Green yesterday.



    I wonder if that will make it into the prospectus?

  7. Gordon J once again is first to address the new article.



    Stop it, Gordon.


    It will never catch on.

  8. From Garngad to Croy I am Neil Lennon. on




    Was this the second share issue in 1999 (see article attached) ? And how much does £21 million equate to in todays money ?







    Friday, October 15, 1999 Published at 19:40 GMT




    UK: Scotland



    Celtic share sale ‘delights’ Fergus McCann



    Fergus McCann promised to sell to a wide range of investors



    Former Celtic managing director Fergus McCann says the sale of his 51% stake in the club has been a resounding success.




    BBC Scotland’s Bob Wylie reports from Glasgow


    And the former Parkhead chief applauded fans for seizing their opportunity to buy into the club.



    Mr McCann confirmed, as expected, that Irish businessman Dermot Desmond now has just under 20% of the holdings to become the club’s new main shareholder.



    Of the 9,997,728 ordinary shares put up for sale last month, a total of 7,525,880 valid acceptances have been received – just over 75% – generating a sum of £21,072,464.





    Dermot Desmond: Biggest single shareholder


    But with the shares being underwritten it means none are unsold and all went for the same price, £2.80 each, with Mr Desmond upping his 13.8% stake by 6% to 19.8%.



    Mr McCann said that about 17% of the share total has been taken up by city institutions, which was lower than anticipated, but he stressed that the fans will collectively own more than half the Glasgow club.



    After saving the club from bankruptcy in 1994 it was always his intention to distribute his shares among supporters and on Friday Mr McCann said he was delighted with what he called an “overwhelming” response.



    “I am pleased with the overall result of my share offer and placing, especially with the take-up by supporters who have invested more heavily than in the initial offer by the club in 1994-5,” he said.



    ‘Great potential’



    “Although the actual number of shareholders, 5,300, is lower than expected, the average investment per person was higher which shows their great confidence in Celtic’s future and satisfaction with the share performance up to now.



    “Shareholder supporters will now own approximately 63% of the share total.



    “Institutions will own approximately 17% of the overall share total, their strong interest in the placing and offer reflects the strength and great potential of the company.



    “Dermot Desmond will own 19.8% of the share total.





    Fergus McCann: Satisfied with the club’s progress


    “I was happy with how I was able to assist over 3,000 subscribers through the interest free payment plan.



    “This helped to ensure that a solid majority of the shareholders of Celtic will be supporters.



    “I would like to thank them and the supporters in general for responding and backing my plan over the last five years.”



    The disposal, which was underwritten by institutions for £40m, gave current shareholders an opportunity to increase their portfolios and allowed season ticket holders and staff an opportunity to purchase a stake.



    Current shareholders were able to buy one new share for every three currently held.



    Mr McCann has agreed to gift a potential £1.5m of the profit to help fund a Celtic football academy.

  9. Kilbowie Kelt,



    I share your dislike of the podium stuff. It was funny once, but like any joke that is repeated and repeated it becomes tiresome.



    Even philvisreturns seems to have given it up – unless he is still busy at the Tory conference. Mind you, it’s probably not right wing enough for him.

  10. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Paul67 –



    The Green Man can say what he wants without any challenge from the media.



    He has been doing so since he came on the scene. He has even borrowed the same template our man Whyte used, knowing he is on safe ground.



    Sevconians don’t want their remaining braincells exploding with all this financial baloney. They just want to know when the orange away top is coming out.

  11. Good article Paul but to me there is no surprise that Charles is making promises that he can’t keep as it is becoming increasingly obvious that he will not be here for much longer.



    This throwaway statement by him to be given the same weight as his promise to produce three billionaires, won’t play in SPL etc.

  12. Surely it’s a silly thing to say when you want people to invest? He just about guaranteed that the £20m will be raised no matter what.



    So, if you were a Sevco supporter facing the dilemma of whether to invest money you can ill afford, wouldn’t you just hold back and think, ah well, he’s going to raise all that’s needed anyway so why should I stretch myself?



    Isn’t it similar to Minty’s share issue where he guaranteed it and they all just kept their hands in their pockets?

  13. Steinreignedsupreme



    I have this image of raging orange clad Sevconians waving useless pieces of paper outside of Ibrox somewhere down the line, it couldn’t happen with such an honourable man as Chuckie in charge??

  14. Sanna, I would expect those handling the share issue have a responsibility to ensure everyone who enquires is responded to.



    From Garngad to Croy, that was not a share issue, it was Fergus selling his already issued shares. No idea what the current value of £21m is.



    Steinreignedsupreme, how true.



    Big Nan, quite possibly.

  15. What he is attempting to perform is daylight robbery and Zombies and MSM are too blind to see it.


    This guy appears to be cut from the same cloth as Whyte and Murray.


    Scavengers they can smell a die beast from miles away.



    I for one just hope they keep on believing his pash!







    /Bishop B

  16. I can’t help thinking that Green looks like a man who came into a poker game on an understanding that he would be dealt at least two aces; now that he’s looked at his hand and realised that he only has a pair of deuces, he has no choice but to bluff his way through the flop. The word “flop” is probably highly appropriate.

  17. The laptop loyal may well have his trousers round his ankles but it will not be for the reason Chuck is giving…

  18. Paul67 – so from defeat to the Bino’s in SFL3 to the 4th richest club in world football within the space of 4 years. Without playing in the top division or Europe.



    Why the hell are we still paying Lawwell? We need GREEN!




  19. Looking back at Chuck’s stupid European rant. Surely any European Super League will have the same rules as current UEFA competitions. Such as,



    Having audited accounts for the past 3 seasons…

  20. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Sevconians love a bit of orange.



    Well, apart from the fruit judging by the nick of them … unless they deep-fry it.



    Waving the paper really would be a Chamberlain moment.

  21. From Garngad to Croy I am Neil Lennon. on

    I managed to find a website to equate £21 million (our 1999 share issue) to 2010 values




    Current data is only available till 2010. In 2010, the relative worth of £21,000,000.00 from 1999 is:





    using the retail price index





    using the GDP deflator





    using the average earnings





    using the per capita GDP





    using the share of GDP




    £33 Million that is a lot of Jelly & Ice Cream !!!!

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