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SBD Global/October 11, 2012/Finance

Rangers Kick Off $32M Flotation Plan On London Stock Exchange

Glasgow Rangers plan to offer $32M IPO on London exchange.
Fans of Scottish Third Division side Rangers are "being offered the chance" of investing in the club as part of a £20M ($32M) flotation on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange, according to Michael Kavanagh of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Rangers CEO Charles Green said that the club's refinancing would "allow both institutional and retail investors to fund the club's attempts" to quickly regain its status in Scotland's top flight. Green said, "From the time we acquired the business and assets of Rangers FC, we indicated our intention to list the company and provide our fans with the opportunity to invest in their club. I am delighted that our plans are coming to fruition" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 10/11). In London, Neil Gardner reported that Rangers will use funds raised from the planned flotation for "strengthening the player squad and providing additional working capital" (LONDON TIMES, 10/11). REUTERS' Sarah Young reported that Rangers were on the PLUS Stock Exchange before the club ran into financial problems, while Glasgow rivals Celtic FC is "one of the few clubs who retain a listing" (REUTERS, 10/11). Rangers Chair Malcolm Murray said “Charles has done a great job to bring the club back from the brink of extinction. We now move on to the next stage, which is full recovery and growth. The fans’ loyalty has been instrumental in getting the club on its feet, and the IPO gives them the chance to have a say on club matters” (SCOTSMAN, 10/11).

NOT THE FIRST: In London, Kavanagh also reported that the Rangers' IPO launch comes weeks after the flotation of ManU in N.Y. Both flotations come after a decade in which many clubs that had previously followed the fashion of chasing publicly quoted status have since been taken private again, because of "financial difficulties or the interest of foreign investors." Clubs' record in terms of delivering good returns to fans who become retail investors is "chequered with disappointment." For example, Championship side Millwall quit AIM last November after "deciding that the costs of maintaining its quoted status were too high." EPL Tottenham Hotspur also "announced plans to quit AIM" last November after maintaining a stock market listing since '83 (FINANCIAL TIMES, 10/11).
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