Robert Sarver, an American financier and owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team, has made an approach for Glasgow Rangers, the football club confirmed in a statement yesterday.
The approach remains unofficial, with Rangers adding in the statement that “there can be no certainty that an offer will be made, nor as to the terms on which an offer may be made”.
Nonetheless, newswires are reporting that Sarver made an £18m bid for a controlling stake in the club in an email to Rangers chairman David Somers just after Christmas, along with a request to ask shareholders to approve a new share issue.
However, millionaire businessman Douglas Park’s Three Bears group and former Rangers director Dave King have since acquired stakes in the club, meaning Sarver’s bid is unlikely to be accepted in its current state.
Sarver submitted the offer to WH Ireland – which represents Rangers on London’s Alternative Investment Market – and is said to have been prepared to splash a further £15m buying out the remaining shareholders if his offer was accepted. He was initially interested in buying 100 per cent of the club. But with Three Bears group now owning close to 20 per cent and King a further 15 per cent, Sarver is unlikely gain the necessary 75 per cent approval for a new share issue.
Rangers declined to comment.
BEHIND THE DEAL: WH IRELAND | PAUL SHACKLETON
1 Shackleton joined WH Ireland as a corporate director in December from Daniel Stewart & Co. WH Ireland replaced Daniel Stewart as Rangers’ nominated adviser (nomad) after the latter withdrew its nomad license on London’s Alternative Investment Market.
2 He headed up Daniel Stewart’s 10-man corporate finance advisory team for 10 years. Previous to that decade, he had spells with Bridgewell Limited, Singer & Friedlander and UBS Investment Bank.
3 At Daniel Stewart, Shackleton acted as financial adviser to GVC Holding in its joint £500m bid with William Hill for Sportingbet.
PROFILE: ROBERT SARVER
Hailing from the US state of Arizona, Robert Sarver is a successful businessman and committed philanthropist.
The 52-year-old multi-millionaire has been the chairman and chief executive of multi-bank holding company Western Alliance Bancorporation since December 2002. The company has $7bn (£4.6bn) in assets and does business in Arizona, California, Nevada and Colorado.
Sarver is also the co-founder of Southwest Value Partners, a 25-year-old contrarian real estate fund and has served as a director of SkyWest Airlines since 2000 and Meritage Homes Corporation since 1996. In 2004, Sarver became the majority owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team. The Suns have since excelled on the court, boasting the NBA’s third best record in timeframe. Sarver also owns the Sun’s sister woman’s team the Phoenix Mercury.
Sarver lives in Valley, Arizona, with his wife Penny and three sons, Max, Jake and Zach. He is believed to be an avid football fan and can regularly be found supporting his boys at their football games.