RANGERS have secured short-term financial breathing space after raising £3.13 million from their open share offer which closed yesterday.
But the prospect of Mike Ashley stepping in to provide a longer-term solution to the Ibrox club’s difficulties was discounted when the Newcastle United owner declined to take part in the offer and denied claims he was set to sell up at St James’ Park in order to buy Rangers.
Another dramatic day in the saga which has enveloped the fallen Glasgow giants since their financial collapse in 2012 also saw them settle out of court with their former commercial director Imran Ahmad, who had been pursuing them for £500,000 in unpaid bonuses. During those proceedings in the Court of Session last week, Rangers’ lawyers disclosed the club had just £1.2 million in the bank.
That highlighted the desperate need for the open offer of ordinary shares to existing shareholders to proceed. It failed to raise the maximum targeted amount of £3.97 million but was a qualified success as it exceeded the minimum uptake of 15 million shares required to go ahead.
“The Company is pleased to announce the result of the Open Offer which closed for acceptances at 11.00 a.m. on 12 September 2014,” read a statement
to the stock exchange from Rangers.
“Valid acceptances including excess applications have been received in respect of 15,667,860 ordinary shares of 1p each (“Open Offer Shares”), representing a total of approximately 78.87 per cent. of those Open Offer Shares available under the Open Offer. The Company has therefore raised gross proceeds of £3.13 million through the Open Offer.”
All four directors of the Rangers plc board – chairman David Somers, James Easdale, Norman Crighton and Philip Nash – all subscribed to the offer. Rangers say they will provide “further updates on the holdings of significant shareholders to the market in due course.”
However, it was revealed earlier in the day that one of their most notable investors had not subscribed for new shares.
In a rare and brief statement of his own to the stock
exchange, Ashley said: “I will not be participating in the Open Offer which closes at 11am today, Friday, September 12, 2014.”
That followed speculation Ashley, who already owns three million shares in the Ibrox club and whose Sports Direct company last week completely subsumed their retail operations, was making moves to sell Newcastle United and facilitate a controlling purchase of Rangers.
But that was denied by Newcastle, who released a statement on their official website insisting Ashley has no immediate plans to leave the English Premier League club.
“The truth is Mike Ashley remains committed to Newcastle United,” it read. “For the avoidance of doubt, this means that for the remainder of this season and AT LEAST until the end of next season, Mike Ashley will not, under any circumstances, sell Newcastle United at any price.
“The Club cannot be stronger in stating its position on this matter.”
Rangers, meanwhile, did not disclose the amount of their settlement with Ahmad who last week won the right to arrest £620,000 from the club’s bank account pending the outcome of his claim against them. Although Rangers were subsequently given leave to appeal that decision ahead of the case coming to court in November, they announced yesterday morning that a deal had been struck with Ahmad who was brought to the club in May 2012 by then chief executive Charles Green following his consortium’s purchase of its business and assets following administration and liquidation.
“Rangers have agreed formal terms of settlement with former commercial director Imran Ahmad regarding his current court action,” read the statement to the stock exchange.
“The sum agreed is significantly less than the total amount which Mr Ahmad had been granted permission to arrest. As part of the settlement terms Mr Ahmad has agreed to refrain from arresting funds in Rangers’ bank account or in the hands of others pending the formal removal of the case from court.
“No such arrestment will now take place. The case will be formally taken out of court in the next few days.” stephen halliday