Rangers: Charles Green agrees takeover deal for club
Former Sheffield United chief executive Charles Green has agreed a deal to buy Scottish Premier League side Rangers.
Green, 59, whose £8.5m bid is backed by a global consortium, hopes Rangers can exit administration through a Company Voluntary Arrangement, a concern for fans keen to retain the club's history.
Administrator David Whitehouse said that, should creditors reject the CVA, then Green would form a "new company".
“No investor will own more than 15%. If we get the CVA through we will release the names.”
At Sunday morning's media conference at Murray Park, the club's training base, Green revealed that there are 20 individuals in the consortium from Asia, the Middle East, Far East and the UK.
They first approached the administrators Duff & Phelps five weeks ago.
"We want to develop the brand in these areas where there's an appetite," said Green.
"This is a great football club with a tremendous history and we will preserve that while building a solid platform for the future.
"Rangers supporters have every right to believe their club should be a success on and off the pitch and that is exactly what we will strive to achieve."
CHARLES GREEN DEAL
- Green bid is binding
- Backed by 20 individuals from the UK, Middle East, Far East and Asia
- CVA is preferred route out of administration, with £8.5m in the pot for creditors
- CVA proposals go to creditors on 21 May; if rejected, Green will seek newco
- Green says he has spent £1m already on deal
Green has purchased Craig Whyte's 85% shareholding in Rangers, joking that he paid £2 to give the former chairman "a 100% profit".
A statement from Whitehouse said: "Mr Green has secured, via a substantial financial commitment, a period of exclusivity to complete the purchase of the club and this is expected to be finalised at a creditors' meeting on 6 June.
"The structure and quantum of the offer from Mr Green is such that it is acceptable to us as administrators and, having been in discussions with major creditors throughout the process, we believe this presents the best prospect of financial recovery for creditors.
"If the creditors do not approve the Company Voluntary Arrangement, the agreement obliges Charles Green's purchasing vehicle to acquire the business and assets of the club on agreed terms, through a newco structure. It is Mr Green's strong preference to achieve a CVA."
Green moved to rescue the crisis-hit club last week before previous favourite Bill Miller withdrew his bid citing a worse-than-expected set of financial figures and inhospitable fan reaction.
Since the American tow-truck manufacturer pulled out, the Blue Knights, led by former director Paul Murray, and Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy had hoped to be named preferred bidder on Friday.
Kennedy said Whyte had agreed to transfer his shares to him and expected to get the nod from administrators to complete a period of due diligience and to proceed with plans for a CVA.
However, Green's late bid proved to be more attractive to the administrators, whose role is to secure the best deal for the club's creditors, of whom HMRC and Ticketus are the key players.
Ticketus is pursuing Whyte through the courts for almost £27m. The Scottish businessman used the finance company to buy Sir David Murray's shareholding in May 2011 for £1 and to pay the £18m debt owed to Lloyds Bank.
In exchange for the cash injection, Ticketus are due the income of about 100,000 Ibrox season tickets over four years.
Rangers bidding timeline
- 3 May: US businessman Bill Miller granted preferred bidder status
- 8 May: Miller withdraws bid
- 10 May: Duff & Phelps say Whyte is ready to hand over shares to two of four parties interested in a takeover
- 11 May: Blue Knights set deadline for offer to buy club but bid fails and is withdrawn
- 13 May: Media conference called to announce Green's plans
Kennedy and the Blue Knights' rejection led to a spat with administrators on Friday.
The unsuccessful Scottish bidders, who had the backing of fans' groups, warned Duff & Phelps that the club would be "at death's door" if the preferred bidder did not follow through with its plans.
In response, the administrators highlighted elements of Kennedy and the Blue Knights' bid that, they felt, showed they could not muster a deal that would appease creditors more than liquidation, a situation in which assets like Ibrox Stadium and Murray Park would be sold.
Green and his backers have their work cut out to effect a CVA that is acceptable to the creditors and to have the club ready to compete in the SPL for next season.
Rangers slid into administration on 14 February and in that time Duff & Phelps have worked to assess bids and establish the true level of debt, which could total £134m if the so-called "Big Tax Case", the subject of a First Tier Tribunal, goes against the club.
A ruling on that is imminent.
The club, which had won the SPL title three years in a row before old rivals Celtic clinched the league this year, had 10 points deducted for entering administration.
They will be given a further points penalty if they have not emerged from administration by the time the 2012-13 season kicks off.
There will be no income from participation in European football next season because Rangers failed to register audited accounts by 31 March.
On Wednesday, Rangers will appeal against Scottish Football Association sanctions of a one-year transfer ban and a £160,000 fine.
The SFA's independent tribunal issued these penalties for the club bringing the game into disrepute, failing to pay National Insurance and PAYE contributions during Whyte's tenure and for failing to pay sums owed for tickets to fellow SFA clubs.