Raith Rovers takeover bid stalls as talks with ex-Rangers director and Hong Kong investors break down

A proposed takeover of Raith Rovers by a Hong Kong-based investment firm has stalled after a breakdown in talks between the two parties.

Silverbear Capital Inc, who are being advised by former Scottish FA chief excutive Gordon Smith, have been in negotations with the Championship outfit over securing the majority shareholding in both the football club and stadium from current owner John Sim.

However, the deal is on the brink of collapse after the prospective buyers stated that, following two months of applying due diligence, further discussions have been put on hold, citing “shortcomings and lack of corporate social responsibility” by the Rovers management.

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They also claim that the club backtracked on a verbal agreement to sign two free agents brokered by Silverbear via agent Mike Dellios. These players were reportedly a Swiss international and a star “from one of the top clubs in world football”.

Hong Kong-based investors Silverbear Capital Inc have been involved in negotiations to buy Raith Rovers. (Photo by Craig Brown / SNS Group)

Smith, who had a short spell as Rangers director of football under Craig Whyte, reckons the two parties have a week to sort their differences or Silverbear could look to invest in a rival Scottish club instead.

"The investors are still interested in taking over the club,” Smith told the Fife Free Press. “I like the fact the club has a bit of history and there’s the potential to improve the club and take it forward.

"One of the things that’s held it back is finance and the people who are looking to invest do have a considerable amount of money.

"If this breaks down with Raith Rovers then my understanding is that there is a good chance that they’ll go and look for another club in Scotland.

"I think there would have to be some sort of agreement within the next week.”

Rovers, who issued an appeal last month for investors to come forward in order to avoid a reduction in football operations amid £150,000 annual losses, have expressed their own concerns with the Silverbear proposal, insisting that they have had no direct contact with the company, which has Peter Chun as its founder and managing partner.

A statement read: “The club can confirm that over the past couple of months they have held discussions with Mike Dellios, Gordon Smith and James Carlin regarding the potential sale of both the football club and Stark Park Properties.

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“Due to this group feeling the need to make these discussions public we feel as a club we need to respond to ensure everyone connected with Raith Rovers Football Club understands where we are.

“We do not recognise the circumstances described in their statement but note they wish to continue discussions.

“Mr Dellios approached the club and advised he was representing Hong Kong based Silverbear Capital Investors and had the funding required to purchase a controlling interest in Starks Park Properties and Raith Rovers Football Club.

“Raith Rovers Football Club have had as yet no direct discussion with Silverbear Capital Investors nor has the financial guarantee been forthcoming.

“During these discussions it also became evident that Mr Dellios’ vision was not beholding of our club values nor was his conduct supportive of the standards generally accepted within Scottish Football.

“We do not want to specifically comment on the details given by the group around the offering of players apart from saying that subject to funding being available the manager makes decisions on who to sign and he decided that the players were at best squad players and would not add any value to the current squad.

“These same players have been showcased at other clubs in Scotland and have not been offered contracts.

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“As proud custodians of Raith Rovers Football Club, our first and most important responsibility is to protect it and safeguard its long-term future, while upholding the club’s values and conducting our business in a professional manner.

“We will continue to discuss potential investment with other interested parties.”

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