Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Corporate Raiders

I'm not surprised that Rangers players rejected a proposal that they should accept a 15% pay cut because to the financial problems facing the Glasgow club.

After all this came in the same week that the media reported that one of the investors in the club, presumably on friendly terms with Charles Green, made a killing of £500,000 by cashing in his shares.

I assume that this gentleman bought his shares for only 1p while ordinary fans were being asked for up to 100 times that amount to put their club on a sound financial footing.

Yet the value of Rangers shares have fallen like a stone in recent months, dropping around 50% or thereabouts, which means that all the small ordinary investors have taken a haircut - a short back and sides.

Meanwhile it looks more and more like a bunch of ruthless asset strippers have exploited the clubs and its fans - so to my mind the response of the Rangers players is understandable.     

In the Money (9 January 2013)

The latest edition of Private Eye has a very interesting article about the complex financial affairs of Rangers Football Club - here's what the Eye had to say.



"The Glasgow club is due to return to the stock market this week. Shares in a brand-new parent company, Rangers International FC, have been sold to fans and institutional investors at 70p and will be listed in the AIM market.

Football clubs are rarely stellar investments, whatever their success on the pitch. But some lucky Rangers shareholders are guaranteed to make money. These are the present investors in the new Rangers FC that acquired the old bankrupt club earlier this year from its administrators. Between May and August, some paid just 1p a share for shares in Rangers FC, which were swapped for shares in the listed company ahead of the flotation. Just over 19m shares were issued at 1p and another 2m at 50p (including 1m issued in October), compared with around 12m shares issued at a riskier 99p or 100p.

So who were the lucky investors? They seem to include mainly the inside group around Charles Green, who led the takeover, and his backers, including three mysterious offshore backers who held more than 23 per cent of the club immediately before the flotation: Blue Pitch Holding Trust (4m shares), Margarita Funds Holding Trust (2.6m) and Norne Anstalt (1.2m). Only with the last of these is it known where the entity is registered (Vadux, Liechtenstein). But the prospectus is completely silent on the beneficial owners.

There is a lock-in of at least six months for some investors and 12 months for Green and other directors. But the shares would have to perform very, very badly for those who paid 1p not to have a big result."

Now I'm no expect on share prices, but am I correct in thinking that some investors  have paid up to 100 times more than others - for the price of acquiring just one, single share?

If so, does this mean that the people paying through the nose are the ordinary Rangers fans - while those who have scooped up a real bargain are these mysterious  offshire backers - and certain 'big cheeses' on the inside track?

Whatever the truth of the matter I think that ordinary Rangers fans deserve to know what's going on - after all they are the real backbone of the club.