CHARLES Green is believed to have told the Rangers board he intends to sell his stake in the Ibrox club to Greenock-based businessmen James and Sandy Easdale in the wake of his resignation as chief executive.
The Easdale brothers, whose investment company Arranglen Ltd controls Scotland’s largest independent bus operator McGills, already own around six per cent of Rangers, which they purchased during the reconstituted club’s flotation on the stock market in December.
Green announced his departure as chief executive last Friday following claims he had covertly operated in conjuction with discredited former chairman and owner Craig Whyte when he fronted the consortium which bought the business and assets of Rangers from administrators Duff & Phelps for £5.5 million in May last year. Rangers have since commissioned legal firm Pinsent Masons to conduct an inquiry into the alleged links.
Green remains the largest single shareholder with an 8.7 per cent stake. Under Stock Exchange rules, he cannot sell his shares until December but it is understood he has agreed a deal in principle with James Easdale.
Last November, Sandy Easdale was among a group of potential investors who were wooed at Ibrox by Green. Concerns were raised at the time over Easdale’s conviction in 1997 for VAT fraud which saw him sentenced to 27 months in prison. “We are fully aware of Mr Easdale’s past and take the view that this was a long time ago,” said a Rangers spokesman at the time. “He served his time and paid his debt. Mr Easdale is that he is a respected figure in Scottish business circles and an employer of 1000 people across the country.”
The Easdale brothers have strong links with their local club, Morton. In January this year, their company funded the signing of striker Colin McMenamin for the Cappielow outfit. The same month saw the Easdales’ Arranglen firm buy two office blocks in Greenock for £1.2 million. They have also dramatically revived the fortunes of local firm Blairs Windows after buying it out of receivership.
When Rangers were launched on the Alternative Investment Market at the London Stock Exchange in December, raising £22.2 million and achieving a market capitalisation of £45.6 million, shares were floated at 70 pence and reached a high of 93 pence later that month. But the price has dropped significantly recently and stood at 59.5 pence at close of trading yesterday.
Rangers are believed to be set to name Craig Mather, another investor brought in by Green, as their new chief executive, possibly as soon as today. Nottingham-based Mather, who owns a sports management company specialising in youth development, paid around £1 million for his stake in Rangers last June.