SCOTTISH football’s fallen giant Rangers yesterday rejected an £18m takeover bid from American financier and owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team Robert Sarver, the club said in statement.
The proposal consisted of a placing of 100m shares at 18p which, if approved by shareholders at a general meeting, would be immediately followed by an unconditional offer of 18p a share, giving Sarver control of the club.
Rangers said in the statement: “While the directors welcome Mr Sarver’s approach, they believe that, notwithstanding the current financial difficulties, the proposal does not adequately value a controlling interest in the company and accordingly the resolution to approve the placing is unlikely to achieve the 75 per cent majority required.
“The directors do not intend to hold the general meeting which would be necessary to implement the proposal.”
According to UK merger and & acquisition regulations, Sarver now has until 2 February to submit an official bid for the club.
Sarver revealed yesterday that it was a conversation with former Rangers player Davie Robertson – now a youth football director in Phoenix – that turned him on to the club. “My three sons all play soccer, as we call it here in the US, for Davie’s club.” said Sarver. “Initially, I’d had some of my advisers examining potential investments in teams in the English Premier League and in Spain, but Davie encouraged me to take a close look at Rangers.
“I’d be the first to admit that I’m not a lifelong Rangers supporter, but anyone who knows me is aware that I’m a genuine sports fanatic.” he added.
According to Thomson Reuters data, M&A activity involving sports clubs has totalled $5.8bn (£3.8bn) over the past decade, with US buyers accounting for 12 per cent of the deals. The largest deal involving a UK sports club was the Glazers’ $1.1bn takeover of Manchester United in 2005. Rothschild has advised on the most UK sports club deals over the period, working on eight deals worth a combined $2.8bn.