Easdales in legal threat as Rangers are de-listed

LEGAL action was threatened by deposed Rangers directors last night after the new Ibrox regime pinned the blame on their predecessors for the club’s withdrawal from the stock exchange.
Picture: John DevlinPicture: John Devlin
Picture: John Devlin

The club yesterday announced it has been forced to de-list from AIM, a sub-market of the London Stock Exchange, after failing to secure a new nominated advisor (Nomad).

Previous Nomad WH Ireland quit just before the general meeting on 6 March when a new board seized power at Ibrox.

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Trading in shares was suspended because of the resignation and the club have been unable to find a replacement within the 28-day deadline.

Picture: John DevlinPicture: John Devlin
Picture: John Devlin

Rangers say that is because of the “failings in corporate governance” of previous regimes, which meant they were subject to more complaints to the AIM stock exchange authorities than any other company over the past 12 months.

Paul Murray, Rangers’ interim chairman, insisted the blame lay at the door of the likes of former football board chairman Sandy Easdale and his brother James, who resigned from the plc board in the wake of regime change last month.

“The delisting is down solely to the actions and conduct of past regimes,” Murray said.

“You could say the behaviour of previous directors has poisoned the well with AIM but even so we might have expected a little more understanding from certain quarters. However, I must point out that delisting will have no effect on our overall financial strategy.”

But the development sparked threats of legal action from the Easdale brothers.

Jack Irvine, who describes himself as an Easdale family adviser, said: “I can confirm that the Easdale grouping is considering legal action. This cessation of listing is a blow to all serious shareholders and is in direct contradiction to the promises Mr Dave King made in the lead up to the EGM regarding appointment of a nomad.

“Today’s statement from Rangers is a masterpiece in obfuscation, presumably with the intention of disguising the fact that the shares will trade at a massive discount.”

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Prospective chairman King, who is awaiting approval from football and other authorities to take his seat on the board, had been planning on replacing WH Ireland before they made the first move, and went on to claim last month that maintaining the AIM listing was not imperative.

Rangers said their prospective Nomad was satisfied with the “fit and proper” status of King and all other directors but due diligence of the company’s profile and history caused it to pull out.

The club statement added: “We also understand that any alternative nomad is liable to encounter similar difficulties and therefore the company requires to terminate its listing on AIM.

“This is no reflection on the current Board or on the financial condition or prospects of the company. It is simply the result of the well documented failings in corporate governance and management of those who previously controlled the company.

“The company understands that this resulted in AIM receiving more complaints about the company than any other company on its exchange over the last year. We appreciate and understand the difficulties this presented for AIM.”

The club are in negotiations to move shares trading facilities to a different platform and say that shareholders can still trade privately. In a statement, they said: “There is no reason why de-listing should adversely impact on the value of the company’s shares or on the company’s financial condition or prospects.”

Rangers reported positive talks with the ISDX platform, where Arsenal’s shares are listed and where oldco Rangers shares were traded before liquidation.