Rangers board block Robert Sarver takeover bid
Ibrox board forced to turn down Phoenix Suns owner due to a lack of shareholder support
The Rangers board have turned down a €25.5 million takeover bid from American Robert Sarver due to a lack of shareholder support. (Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)
The Rangers board has blocked Robert Sarver’s €25.5 million takeover bid, the club has confirmed to the stock exchange.
The US financier had wanted to buy a controlling stake in the club and had vowed to hand the ailing Glasgow giants another €8.3 million up front as part of a crisis loan to see them through the rest of the month.
But the Ibrox outfit have been forced to reject Sarver’s offer after deciding they do not have enough shareholder support to pass it.
Sarver — who already owns NBA side the Phoenix Suns — wanted the club to call an emergency meeting to vote on proposals to hand him enough new shares to give him in control of 51 per cent of Rangers.
The 53-year-old then planned to make an offer to buy up all remaining stock at 26 c per share.
But the American banker needed the support of 75 per cent of the club’s shareholders after the board voted down its own resolution at last month’s AGM which would have allowed it to issue new shares to fresh investors without first offering them to existing stakeholders.
Those hopes were ruined, however, when the board was blindsided as first the Three Bears — wealthy supporters Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor — and then Dave King made two surprise share purchases, handing them control of 34 per cent of the club.
In a 7am notice to the Stock Exchange, the club announced: “The Board of Rangers has considered the revised possible offer from Robert Sarver (or a vehicle to be established and controlled by him) (”Mr Sarver“) which Mr Sarver announced on 8 January.
“The revised proposal by Mr Sarver was similar to his first proposal in the respect that it sought a placing of 100 million shares (to be priced at 26 c in this proposal) (”Placing“) which, would require the approval of shareholders (at least a 75% majority) at a general meeting.
“The Board of Rangers rejected the first proposal from Mr Sarver on 6 January on the basis that the Board felt it unlikely that the approval of shareholders holding sufficient shares would be forthcoming.
“Following receipt of the revised proposal from Mr Sarver, the Board has sought the views of a number of major shareholders on this revised proposal and has reached the same conclusion, namely that the resolution to approve the placing is unlikely to achieve the 75% majority required.
“Accordingly, once again, the Directors do not intend to hold the General Meeting which would be necessary to implement the revised proposal.”
The question now for the board is one of how to raise the short-term cash they desperately need to keep the club afloat.
The Three Bears have left a €8.3 million investment plan on the table but the ruling regime could yet turn to Mike Ashley, the Newcastle United owner, for yet more help.
Ashley — who owns 8.92 per cent of Rangers — has already handed the club a €3.8 million loan as the Sports Direct tycoon seeks to protect his lucrative commercial contracts.
But after placing associates Derek Llambias and Barry Leach onto the board, he risks another confrontation with the Scottish Football Association — who have already charged him with breaching “dual ownership” rules — if he deepens his Ibrox involvement while remaining in charge at St James’ Park.
He may, however, decide to work with the Bears — who along with King — are nearing the kind of shareholder support which would allow them to call an emergency general meeting and make wholesale changes to the Ibrox board.