Is the delisting of Rangers King’s end game?
Dave King, according to STV Sport, has applied to the Court of Session for permission to become a director of Rangers Football Club and its parent company Rangers International FC PLC.
The South African-based businessman recently led the coup d’etat to overthrow the previous regime fronted by David Somers, James Easdale and Derek Llambias.
But despite issuing a statement soon after he took over stating that he would wait until the Scottish FA and the Stock Exchange regulators determine if he is fit and proper person, King now looks to steal a march on their decisions to force his appointment by going through the civil courts.
King requires approval under ‘a section of the Insolvency Act’ related to oldco Rangers and his past involvement as a director at Ibrox when it was liquidated in 2012.
The Insolvency Act forbids directors from taking up a post with a new company which has the same name or similar to the previous company that was liquidated.
A public notice issued on Friday, stated: “Notice is hereby given that a petition has been presented to the Court of Session by David Cunningham King, for leave, under section 216(3) of the Insolvency Act (a) to be a director of Rangers International Football Club plc and (b) to be concerned or take part in the management of The Rangers Football Club Limited.
“In that petition the court made an order dated 18 March 2015 that the petition be intimated on the walls of court, advertised once in each of the Edinburgh Gazette and The Herald newspaper, served on certain parties and allowed any person claiming an interest to lodge answers to it within eight days of the last of that intimation, service and advertisement.”
King handed the Ibrox chairmanship to Paul Murray on a temporary basis to keep the throne warm, while he awaited the Scottish FA and Stock market regulators’ decision, if they come down on his side then Murray would relinquish the chairman’s role to King.
But why the rush to force his place on the Ibrox board before the Scottish FA and stock market make their decision? Why backtrack on his previous statement?
King at the time, said: “An important issue that was repeatedly (and correctly) raised by the previous board is the need for the regulators to be given time to complete the necessary due diligence on myself – given my intended role as chairman of the company.
“However, engagement with the regulators can only commence at the specific request of the company and that process can only be initiated on conclusion of the general meeting.
“It is important that I lead by example following my commitment to transparency and accountability. I will therefore delay acceptance of my appointment as director until the regulators have completed due process.
“Paul Murray has agreed to act as interim chairman of the company until this process has been concluded. Additional board appointments will be announced in the near future.”
What happened to King leading by example?
Has his commitment to transparency and accountability disintegrated?
Has the lack of a NOMAD forced King’s hand?
WH Ireland, who were the nominated adviser for Rangers International FC PLC, quit before King succeeded in removing the Rangers board of directors in a landslide victory at the company’s EGM. That resignation meant that the Stock Exchange suspended the company’s shares preventing anyone from buying or selling in the company until a new NOMAD had been appointed.
An AIM company – which Rangers are – must retain the services of a NOMAD at all times. IF a NOMAD quits or a company terminates the services of a NOMAD it must notify the market immediately. Once that takes place then the shares of the company will be suspended and the company has one month to appoint a new adviser.
If a company fails to appoint a new nominated adviser within one month it will result in the cancellation of the AIM company’s shares.
When a company is delisted, its stock no longer trades on one of the major stock exchanges in Rangers’ case the AIMs market.
The shares already in play are still valid after delisting, with shareholders still owning the same percentage of the company as before and is free to sell his or her shares to any willing buyer.
Despite the above, the financial aspect of delisting is a huge negative on the company and usually occurs when said company goes bankrupt or approaches bankruptcy.
Not that we are claiming Rangers International FC PLC are approaching bankruptcy.
When you purchase stock you own it until you either sell it, the company redeems it from you or the company is liquidated. Even if the company gets delisted shareholders do not have to hand over their ownership rights, but those rights often become worthless.
According to financial information on delisting:
“….delisting occurs due to corporate bankruptcy, which typically wipes out original shareholders in favor of newly issued stock. Even if you hold on to your delisted shares, you often won’t receive any shares in the company when it emerges from bankruptcy.”
BUT a company being delisted may also be a positive thing for the company shareholders. If it decides to go private instead of being a PLC, it essentially buys out existing shareholders – in exchange for cash. IF shareholders do not accept the buyout offer then the shareholders stock will still be valid BUT they will become worthless upon delisting.
Is this King’s end game?
Is King’s plan all about failing to appoint a NOMAD so that the company shares are delisted so that Rangers International FC goes from a PLC to a private company?
All those fans who bought shares in Rangers International FC PLC at the behest of fans groups and reps could see their shares become worthless upon delisting. And see their dream of fan ownership or having a major say at boardroom level disappear as quickly as the regulators strike Rangers’ name off the AIMs market.
King insisted that he had a replacement NOMAD lined up, then he declared that the NOMAD had to look at the books before deciding on linking up with the Ibrox club.
15 days after Rangers’ shares were suspended, King has half a month remaining to appoint said NOMAD before delisting happens – BUT was this his plan all along?
Despite claiming he will be fully transparent to the Rangers fans – he has been very quiet since the EGM and on the specific issue of a lack of a NOMAD and his plans if delisting happens.
King’s coup d’etat started off positively, it was dragged through the mud with King’s nominated fan rep Chris Graham forced to resign after publishing a racist and anti-muslim tweet depicting the Prophet Muhammad in the throngs of a sex act.
But King’s u-turn over delaying his appointment to the board should be a worry to Rangers fans. Why the rush? Why go down the route of a civil action when he himself said previously that he would be able to take his place as a director at Ibrox and that he would receive the backing of the Scottish FA and the stock market regulator?
Delisting would see the stock market regulators’ potential issues with King’s tax convictions nullified with only the Scottish FA standing in the way of King.
But as we have been told time and again over the past four years, Scottish football needs a strong Rangers – can we honestly see the Scottish FA standing in the way of King and for that matter Rangers? Given the Scottish FA has in the past lied, bullied and threatened Lower League clubs over the financial suicide of Rangers Football Club.
In fact the Scottish FA are powerless to do anything. All that King and Rangers are obliged to do is to bring the Scottish FA’s attention to anything they should be know under the articles of association – ie. past directorships, association with oldco Rangers etc.
The Scottish FA have no power at all nor any rules to prevent King being appointed. Remember Giovanni di Stefano at Dundee?
All the Scottish FA can do is choose to not recognise him – it doesn’t prevent him from owning the club, controlling the club or becoming chairman. All they can do is prevent him from donning a Scottish FA blazer, joining one of the Scottish FA committees and accompany the Scotland national side abroad.
In short the Scottish FA are powerless.
Has ‘the glib and shameless liar’ played his hand?
This article was cost published on Scotzine, Scotland’s leading football website.