RANGERS will attempt to resist a coup led by Dave King to have the present board removed in the wake of an emergency general meeting the former club director proposed on Friday, the Ibrox outfit announced in a statement this morning.
In a separate statement, also issued today, the club defended proposals to place securities against Ibrox Stadium, saying that “such a decision would not be taken lightly.”
According to the club, King’s New Oasis group submitted a proposal to hold a meeting calling for the removal of club directors David Somers, Derek Llambias, Barry Leach and James Easdale. Under the plans, King, Paul Murray and John Gilligan would replace them.
The board intends to ask King to withdraw his bid in order to save the cash-strapped club the expense of hosting the meeting, and if he does not they will recommend the South Africa-based businessman’s motions are voted down.
Responding to the proposal, Rangers said: “The company is currently verifying that the notice is properly constituted. If valid, the board intends to seek to have such notice withdrawn in order to avoid the cost and disruption of an ad hoc general meeting. The AIM Rules require that all individuals appointed to the board of an AIM company are suitable to be a director of a UK public company.”
“If the notice is valid and is not withdrawn, the directors intend to recommend that shareholders vote against the proposed resolutions. A circular will be sent to shareholders in accordance with the Act, however in the meantime the directors will not be distracted from the more important matter of securing the future of the business. A further announcement will be made shortly.”
If the meeting is to go ahead, it must take place between three and six weeks from Friday when the board were informed.
King now faces a race against time to build an anti-board coalition with enough shares to win a majority vote but can expect support from the likes of the Three Bears - wealthy fans Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor.
The two groups own around 34 per cent of the club between them - roughly the same portion as controlled by Mike Ashley and the Easdale brothers.
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On securing Ibrox against a loan from Mike Ashley, the club issued a statement that read: “At the current time the assets (other than Ibrox), cash flow and business of Rangers does not support a significant financing, on an open market commercial basis, to achieve the goals which the directors have set for the club. Accordingly the directors are pursuing bi-lateral discussions with two parties who are both stakeholders in Rangers. These discussions contemplate a significant amount of capital being available to the business on a long term basis in order to enhance the squad which the directors believe is necessary. A consequence of funding to this level is that, in reality, it may be necessary to use Ibrox stadium as security; such a decision would not be taken lightly.
“No decision has been taken at the current time while discussions are being finalised in good faith. The Advance Notice does not mean that security will be given, and the directors are adamant that it will not unfairly advantage the party with whom it was agreed.”
The Rangers directors announced earlier this month that they require “urgent” funding just to see the club through January, but they were forced to knock back US financier Robert Sarver’s £20million takeover bid after admitting they could not get enough shareholder support to vote it through.
King will only have made his move if he is certain he can carry with him at least 51 per cent of the shareholders.
But even if they do sweep out the existing directors, they could still face problems with Ashley, who controls the Ibrox retail division at rates highly beneficial to his Sports Direct empire.
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