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SBD Global/November 4, 2013/Franchises

Board Power Struggles At Rangers Continue As Shareholders Unable To Reach Agreement

Former Scottish League 1 Rangers Dir Dave King "has revealed he has been unable to reach a 'consensus agreement' with shareholders locked in a boardroom dispute," according to Mike Farrell of STV. The South Africa-based businessman "has been in Scotland holding meetings with Rangers International Football Club plc stakeholders recently, as it gears up for a power struggle at its first annual general meeting." On Friday, he said that "certain influential shareholders are unwilling to compromise" in the boardroom battle at Ibrox. King also claimed that "his convictions for breaching tax legislation in South Africe have 'has no effect whatsoever on my ability to serve as a director of companies'" (STV, 11/1). In Glasgow, Alan Marshall reported King "has stepped back from his bid to become Ibrox chairman." Following King’s "shock withdrawal," Rangers shareholder Jim McColl released a statement claiming it was clear from King’s decision that "there are outside influences who are pulling the strings." McColl insisted Rangers "are doing everything they can to keep secret the identity of Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita Holdings powerbrokers." On another "dramatic day of infighting," King also warned there is a "distinct possibility" of the club going back into administration if peace cannot be found (DAILY RECORD, 11/2). The GLASGOW SOUTH AND EASTWOOD EXTRA reported "the group of dissenting Rangers shareholders" led by Paul Murray and McColl "urged the Ibrox board on Friday to disclose the 'outside influences who are pulling the strings' at the club." King revealed "he would continue to seek a solution and would not rule out a takeover attempt but he is resigned to a stormy and indecisive AGM." He felt Rangers "needed two more rounds of fundraising before being able to challenge Celtic, and that administration was 'not an imminent threat' but still a 'distinct possibility if the AGM results in a continuing lack of continuity on one side or the other'" (GLASGOW SOUTH AND EASTWOOD EXTRA, 11/2). In London, Rob Brennan reported the group said that "it has the backing of 28 percent of shareholders," and claims the board -- which is comprised only of Finance Dir Brian Stockbridge -- failed to name the backers. The statement from the group read, "To avoid a further messy and expensive legal process for the club we are now calling upon the board to do the right thing and disclose to everyone who is really in control. If the board have any desire to rebuild trust with the fans then, in the interests of transparency and in light of everything that has happened in the last couple of years, surely they must realize that they must do this as soon as possible" (DAILY MAIL, 11/1).

LINING UP NEW BOARD MEMBERS: The SCOTSMAN reported McColl has confirmed former Liverpool Managing Dir Christian Purslow "is set to take on a chief executive role at Rangers in the event of a boardroom shake-up." McColl: "I think Christian is open to that and quite keen, but he first wants to see stability on the board. He needs to see the board sorted out then he would be prepared to join. He is one of the people we think would be a good asset" (SCOTSMAN, 11/1). In Glasgow, Richard Wilson reported Rangers "need funding, new directors and good corporate governance, and anybody with either the club's interests or the interests of the share value in mind should be pressing for these matters to be addressed." The institutional shareholders backed by McColl want to see Paul Murray, Malcolm Murray, Scott Murdoch and Alex Wilson "voted on to the board at the AGM." In the meantime, they are "seeking clarity on who the ultimate beneficial shareholders are in BPH and MH, since both have played a key role in the saga." It is possible for a group of more than 10% of shareholders "to embark upon a legal process to compel the club to reveal that information, but that would cost time and money." King "attempted to find a way through these entanglements, while remaining independent." Other high net worth supporters "are waiting to invest once King is involved, so a solution that is amenable to the fans does lie in wait. It is now time for decisions to be made" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 11/3).
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