Phoenix Suns majority owner Sarver makes Rangers approach
Robert Sarver, the majority owner of the Phoenix Suns NBA basketball team, has made an approach to Rangers which may lead to an offer being made for the company, the club have announced to the Stock Exchange.
Reports emerged on Sunday that an £18million takeover bid from Sarver had either been lodged or was about to be and on Monday the club confirmed interest from the 53-year-old.
"The Company notes recent press speculation and confirms that it has received an approach from Robert Sarver (or a vehicle to be established and controlled by him) ("Mr Sarver") that may or may not lead to an offer being made for the Company," Rangers said.
"There can be no certainty that an offer will be made, nor as to the terms on which an offer may be made. A further announcement is expected shortly."
The statement added that Sarver must make an offer or withdraw his bid by 1700 GMT on February 2.
It is another twist to a seemingly never-ending saga, but it is understood the financier may now be prepared to back Dave King and the Three Bears group’s attempts to seize control of the club.
He lodged his offer in an email to Rangers International Football Club chairman David Somers just after Christmas.
Sarver – a keen sports fan whose sons are interested in the game – asked the Rangers board to call a general meeting to vote on a plan which would have seen enough new shares issued to hand him a 51 per cent stake.
He was also prepared to spend up to £15million buying out any remaining shareholders as he sought a 100 per cent stake in the club.
Sarver, who also owns the Phoenix Mercury Women’s NBA team, submitted his offer at the same time to WH Ireland, which manages RIFC’s listing on the Alternative Investment Market.
But it remains to be seen if he will press ahead with his bid after former oldco director King followed the Three Bears group of Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor in buying up significant tranches of equity last week.
King now holds a 14.57 per cent share, while Park, Letham and Taylor are responsible for 19 per cent.
Press Association Sport understands the Three Bears have had tentative talks with Sarver but there is no deal in place.
However, it seems unlikely that he will now be able to take control of the club following the moves made by King and the Three Bears.
At least 75 per cent of shareholders would have to agree to new shares being issued to a non-shareholder at a general meeting.
Somers has already rejected a £16million investment plan offered by King which would have seen the South Africa-based businessman receive a controlling stake and seats on the board.
The confirmation of the approach came as Rangers revealed they had secured a loan of up to £500,000 from shareholder and football club chairman Sandy Easdale.
Easdale’s loan will be secured on future income from the recent sale of Lewis Macleod to Brentford. The midfielder went for an undisclosed fee that was reported as £1million.
A separate statement to the Stock Exchange read: "The company is pleased to announce that it has entered into a short term credit facility for up to £500,000. The facility is being provided by Alexander Easdale, a shareholder in the company and director of The Rangers Football Club Limited, the wholly owned subsidiary of RIFC. The facility will be used by the company for general working capital purposes over the next few days.
"Alexander Easdale will make available to the company up to £500,000 on a fee and interest free basis and it will be secured against the income from the sale of player announced on 2 January 2015."