There may be some glib and shameless laughter if Dave King is forced to relinquish control of Newco by the court after his hearing, which takes place today and tomorrow. The Takeover Panel ruled that he led a Concert Party in the period leading up to his takeover of the club in March 2015. As a consequence, King was instructed to make an offer for the entire shareholding, which he failed to do. The simultaneous effects of ‘Cold Shouldering’ leaves the club hampered in their abilities to raise money.
None of this is welcome. I will be genuinely sorry if King is forced to relinquish control of Ibrox. His interference at the club, which started within days of Sevco 5088 being awarded the rights to buy Rangers assets by administrators Duff & Phelps, has been malignant.
Within a week of the Sevco 5088 offer being accepted, owner (disputed) Charles Green was asked to step aside. Green was quickly forced to abandon his projections, instead he had to over-promise what he could deliver, and sell cheap tickets in order to get fans, who wanted others to control the club, on board. Ever since Newco has haemorrhaged money.
It managed three promotions in four years, but now seems doomed to forever perform the role of hapless cash cow for the rest of the Premiership. They are good box office, add valuable income to the coffers of every club they visit, but are unable to generate enough money to break even.
The really puzzling aspect of King’s failure to make a share offer, following the Takeover Panel’s ruling, it that I’m sure it would probably cost buttons. If every shareholder took up the offer, there is a potential £11m bill, but surely few, if any, would exit at this stage, for 20p a share? I cannot see this being any more than an exercise of going through the motions.
Irrespective of the likely uptake of an offer, King would need to show the means to make good for the entire £11m, just in case, before proceeding. You or I could to through the motions of a meaningless £11m offer, but few of us could demonstrate the follow through. Perhaps King is in the same quandary.
I know we mock King’s pantomime PR and general ridiculous-ness, but he is perfect for the job of controlling Newco. For most people, for most clubs, this week’s shenanigans would be humiliating, but Dave and his cronies are made of stronger stuff. Hang in there, Dave, we will miss you when you are gone.
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