Green to buy shares shortfall
Rangers chief executive Charles Green has pledged to take up the slack in any shortfall in the club's proposed £20million share issue.
The Irn-Bru Third Division club are to seek admission to the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange as they continue to realign their finances following the liquidation of the 'oldco' club and the acquisition of its assets by Green's consortium for a £5.5million in the summer.
A statement released on Thursday claimed the funds raised will be used for "strengthening the player squad, improving and developing the club's properties and providing additional working capital".
The Ibrox club's chief executive, who values Rangers at £25-30million, hopes to have their admission to the AIM completed by the end of November.
However, the viability of the proposal could be questioned, not least because of the financial climate, the minimum share outlay of £500, and the fact that one of Rangers' former owners, Sir David Murray, underwrote a £50million-plus share issue in 2004.
Green will not underwrite this coming share issue as such, but said: "My personal view is that the figure is low.
"But if we don't raise £20m then I will buy whatever the shortfall is. I've listed or floated maybe 30 companies and done fundraising as well.
"There's not been anything underwritten in London in the past seven or eight years to my knowledge. Whenever it occurs someone takes a fee for it.
"I'd be happy to underwrite it but what will happen is in three weeks' time you lot (media) will have my trousers around my ankles saying 'Charles Green underwrit Rangers' and took a three per cent fee when it didn't need doing.
"The reality is we don't need to underwrite it as there will be no shares left over.
"But if they're not (taken up) of course we'll take them.
"Why wouldn't we take them? We did it in May when there was nothing to buy. There was no guarantee we would ever play football again."
Despite the attempt to raise more revenue, Green claims the club's current business model is "sustainable", as he revealed he was in negotiations with sports goods companies Adidas, Puma and Warrior following an earlier agreement with Sports Direct over selling club merchandise.
"When we were put into the Third Division I should probably have made 25% of the staff redundant but we haven't done that," the former Sheffield United chief executive said.
"The board and the investors were happy to take on these costs, but going forward the reality is there is a sustainable model because the wage bill is dramatically down.
"The assumption is that, with 36,000 season ticket holders, why would we have less next year?
"And, of course, whatever league we are in next year it will be a higher price for season tickets.
"So if we take those assumptions, add on more sponsorship and income we will get from our media deals because we are in the football league, then Rangers is a stand-alone business that makes profit.
"The sustainability of Rangers is not based on whether this idea is a success or not, it just moves everything much faster.
"This is a very good sound business and the people who are running it are never going to allow it to get in the position it was in the past."
Green insists his valuation of the club is on the conservative side.
He said "The current valuation of £25million is a real opportunity for investors to come in, and while I acknowledge that the original investors have, on paper at least, made a good return, they have not chosen to force that price up and have left a lot of value for people to come in now.
"So I think there is a sensible and realistic value.
"Apart from the fans being interested because they love Rangers, the sophisticated investor will see there is growth opportunity, and if we believe the club can get back to the top league then why would it not be valuable like some of the other big European clubs."
Asked why the announcement was made today, and not when Rangers were in a stronger situation on and off the park, Green replied: "I didn't just drop it on someone's toes in the run up to Christmas.
"I told everybody that I would float it this year.
"Not in two or three years' time when we will be back in Europe and we could do it at a higher price, because that's not fair.
"I made that promise on May 13 - it was printed and put out there and the fans are aware of it.
"If I was doing it for the benefit of the original investors, if we did it in three years' time when we're making massive profits, the share price will be higher and the company will be worth £100million, it would be more expensive for the fans. But the club belongs to the fans.
"The investors rescued it so are entitled to a profit. They'll have now, based on the figures we talked about earlier, made a profit of 100 per cent and if they're not happy with that then tough.
"That's what we promised to do and that's what we're doing."
Green tried to allay the fears of those fans who feel £500 is a prohibitive figure.
He said: "If people don't buy shares in the run up to Christmas they can buy them in the market as the company will be listed.
"If someone wants to buy £50 or £100 worth, that's fine also."