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Trio offer Rangers cash injections

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Rangers: Three offers of cash injection as finance chief quits

By Chris McLaughlin
BBC Scotland Sport

Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy has joined Newcastle United’s Mike Ashley and former director Dave King in offering fresh funding to Rangers.

And the battle for control of the Ibrox club on Friday led to the resignation of finance director Philip Nash.

Ashley, who owns 8.29% of the Glasgow club’s shares, had called for the removal of Nash and chief executive Graham Wallace as part of his offer.

Rangers need a financial injection to cover wages beyond November.

King returned to his South African business base without reaching agreement following this week’s negotiations with the Scottish Championship club’s board.

Before leaving Scotland on Thursday, he issued a statement

saying that his group’s offer remained on the table

and that he was still hopeful it would be accepted by the the club.

It subsequently emerged Ashley had been holding talks about a similar deal and now Edinburgh-born businessman Kennedy has tabled an alternative to the Newcastle owner’s offer of an emergency loan that would take Rangers through to their annual meeting.

In response to news of Ashley’s offer, King insisted it did not affect his own bid “in any way” as the Newcastle owner was simply offering a a short-term loan.

Former Rangers director Dave King

“We have a lot of work to do over the next few months to regain the club. I would not be here without the support of the fans and neither would my co-investors. We are going to need to draw on your support again over the coming months.”

“Our offer is for a long-term permanent solution that can take the club forward and unite the fans and the board for the first time in many years,” said King.

“The board is in the final stages of reviewing our offer and I expect a definitive answer early next week.

“Frankly, it doesn’t seem possible that the board can do anything other than recommend it to shareholders given the dire financial circumstances and the fact that no other long-term solution is on offer.

“Mr Ashley’s involvement (and recently announced continued commitment) with Newcastle precludes him from making a similar offer of long-term permanent equity.

“What Mr Ashley can do is attempt to increase his vice-like grip on the Rangers brand by improving his retail position as a condition for supplying short-term debt to tide the club over until our permanent funding is in place.”

Ashley, who already has control of Rangers’ shirt sales and retail division and owns the naming rights for Ibrox Stadium, had refused to back King’s proposal.

Mike Ashley already has control of Rangers merchandise and Ibrox naming rights

Rangers director Sandy Easdale, who controls a 26% block of shares, also declined to agree to a further rights issue that would have diluted that holding.

It is believed that, in their battle for control, Ashley and King have both tabled bids involving around £2m up front, leading to eventual funding of around £16m.

Both loan elements would be secured against various Rangers assets and both deals call for representation on the board.

However, while Ashley is demanding two representatives on the board, King also wants to choose its chairman.

“I know there are other investors also willing to provide bridging finance,” added King.

“The board will therefore not have to accept punitive terms even if Ashley attempts to impose them.

Dave King returned to South Africa after he failed to agree a deal with Rangers

“We must remember that the board is ethically and legally bound to act in the best interest of the company and all shareholders.

“Ashley cannot expect preferential treatment and will not get it.”

King expressed confidence that Wallace and Nash would “have enough integrity and commercial experience to do the right thing”.

However, his statement coincided with a Stock Exchange statement about the departure of Nash, the former Arsenal and Liverpool executive who had been employed as a financial consultant by Rangers before joining the board in July.

Wallace and Nash had been supportive of the bid by King’s group, which includes fellow Scottish businessmen George Letham and Paul Murray.

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