Rangers confirm takeover talks with property developer

Rangers have confirmed that majority shareholder David Murray has begun discussions with London-based property developer Andrew Ellis regarding a takeover.

Rangers have confirmed that majority shareholder David Murray has begun discussions with London-based property developer Andrew Ellis regarding a takeover.

The Glasgow giants – who are £31m (€34m) in debt – say discussions with “interested parties” are at an early stage.

An independent committee of the board – which includes Ibrox legend John Greig - has been set up to consider any offers for Rangers.

Murray stepped down as chairman in August 2009.

Murray has been seeking a buyer for some time and Rangers have been working to a business plan in conjunction with Lloyds Banking Group.

Manager Walter Smith and his backroom staff have been working without contracts since January in a bid to ease the financial pressure on the club and the Ibrox boss has not bought any new players since August 2008.

A statement released by Rangers read: “Following press speculation over the weekend, the board of Rangers Football Club plc confirms that it has been advised by Murray International Holdings Limited that MIH has entered into discussions with certain interested parties, including Andrew Ellis, about the interests of MIH in RFC that may lead to an offer or offers for the entire issued share capital of the club.

“The board of RFC understands that discussions are at an early stage and there can be no certainty that any offer will be made for the issued shares of RFC. RFC has been in an offer period since its announcement of October 26, 2009.

“In order to ensure the complete independence of the assessment of the merits for RFC of any possible offer, the board of RFC has set up an independent committee of the board comprising the chairman Alastair Johnston, John McClelland, Martin Bain, Donald McIntyre and John Greig to consider the full implications of any future offer for RFC.

“The independent directors will ensure that any possible offer for RFC is assessed on the merits for RFC, its shareholders and all other stakeholders in RFC including supporters.

“It is particularly important to the independent directors that any possible offeror is able to demonstrate the capacity and commitment to provide a stable and sustainable future for RFC and the independent directors will want to understand fully the plans of any potential offeror in order to recommend the action that shareholders should take.

“The Independent Directors exclude Mike McGill and Donald Muir who are connected to MIH, and so have a potential conflict of interest, and Dave King and Paul Murray about whose intentions there has been past speculation that could lead to a perception of a possible conflict of interest.

“The board will keep all shareholders informed of further developments.”

Ellis is a former director of QPR, who had previously made a bid to take control of the London club back in 2001 before withdrawing the offer.

The proposal had proved unpopular with fans because it suggested moving the club from Loftus Road to a new site near Heathrow 16 miles away and was criticised by then manager Ian Holloway.

The following year Ellis’ consortium paid £500,000 (€550,000) to buy League One club Northampton Town and he took over as chairman but quit the role soon after.

Stephen Smith, spokesman for the Rangers Supporters Trust, told Sky Sports that the Ibrox fans need to be involved in any negotiations.

He said: “They need to talk to the support, they need to talk to the Trust, the Rangers Assembly and Rangers Association and to get the fans to invest and become a major stakeholder.

“There is a great capacity for that.

“What we don’t want is the transfer of Rangers from one rich man to another rich man or a group of rich men and we wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.

“We have to make sure this doesn’t happen again and the only to do that is to diversify the share ownership of the football club.”

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