Ken Pattullo: Game takes strange turn as referee sits on sidelines in Ticketus case

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IT SOUNDS like both sides are no further forward after the Court of Session hearing. I suspect the only way forward is for both sides to consider their positions and decide whether or not they want to take this to the Inner House of the Court of Session.

There’s a lot of money at stake.

The only thing that can be said with certainty is that everyone will have to take legal advice. This is a non-decision almost, and every party involved is in no man’s land. There is no legal decision really as to whether the Ticketus agreement has any legal validity at all.

From what Duff & Phelps said after Lord Hodge’s decision, I would agree that the administrators clearly have a duty to maximise the outcome for a general body of creditors, as opposed to one particular individual creditor, namely Ticketus. What is difficult to know without seeing details of the bids is how both Duff & Phelps and Ticketus have worked out their responses.

Ticketus is clearly throwing its weight behind the Blue Knights bid, but it’s difficult to know how all the creditors would be affected if Duff & Phelps simply pursued that bid as opposed to objecting to the claim of Ticketus and saying they simply have a claim alongside HM Revenue and Customs and other ordinary unsecured creditors.

What the administrators will have to do is work out a cost-benefit analysis of pursuing each bid, but it is hard to comment in detail about them without knowing what is involved in each bid.

If Ticketus is taken out of the equation as some sort of semi-secured creditor, you would have thought the other bids would then become more attractive, but again, it’s difficult to be certain.

It is hard to predict when things will happen. Judging by the reaction from both Duff & Phelps and Ticketus to the Court of Session decision, it doesn’t appear either of them are definitely saying they’re going to take legal advice or contest the decision. They both seem to be claiming some sort of semi victory, although it’s difficult to say how either of them can claim a victory.

If the case does go back to a court after one or both of the parties decide that it is the way forward, I think it will be fast-tracked. Cases like this can take years to be resolved, but I suspect it will go to the top of the list because of the urgency, and it would be clearly unsatisfactory to leave Rangers for months in administration over an issue which is so vital to the outcome of the administration process.

l Ken Pattullo is a partner with accountants Begbies Traynor