Ibrox chairman has no regrets
King defiant in face of penalty imposed by Takeover Panel
Ruling: Dave King (pic: SNS Group)
Rangers chairman Dave King insisted he has no regrets after being punished by the Takeover Panel for the manner in which he took control of the Ibrox club in 2015.
The South Africa-based businessman has been ‘cold-shouldered’ for four years, meaning he is banned from working with any business or professional regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority on any transactions covered by the takeover code.
King was deemed to have acted “in concert” with George Letham, George Taylor and Douglas Park to acquire more than 30% of Rangers shares. Crossing that threshold meant he had to make an offer for the whole club.
Having been threatened with contempt of court after a long delay, King made an unsuccessful 20p-per-share offer to shareholders to buy remaining shares in the club in March.
The panel found that King had failed to inform them of his share purchase, as required by law, and passed down the rare ‘cold shouldering’ punishment.
The ruling will have no impact on the club as it applies personally to King.
“For the avoidance of doubt it should be said that other than in the unlikely event that the holding in Rangers which Mr King owns or controls reaches a size that enables him to control Rangers personally, the sanction will apply to Mr King as an individual and not to Rangers,” a panel statement read.
“The Executive’s case is that it is to be inferred from Mr King’s overall conduct that he is a person who is not likely to comply with the Code and accordingly that the Committee should so declare. Such a declaration would trigger the sanction known colloquially as “cold-shouldering”, a sanction which the Executive submits should remain in place for not less than 5 years.
“We would also add that Mr King’s prolonged refusal to procure a Rule 9 offer, along with his conduct in dealing with the Executive during its initial investigation into a possible concert party, were offences of the utmost seriousness for which a statement of public censure would not be a sufficient sanction.”
King insisted the punishment will have no effect on him whatsoever and showed no sign of remorse for his behaviour.
“In terms of its practical impact, the ruling of the Hearings Committee does not impact upon my personal or business activities – including RIFC,” he said. “It applies solely to dealings in companies that are or are to be listed on the UK exchanges.
“For that reason alone I decided – even though I consider I have strong grounds for appeal – not to appeal this ruling. This now allows myself, RIFC and its shareholders to draw a line under this long and much protracted saga.
“Rangers supporters already know that my problems with the Takeover Panel arose directly as a result of the steps I took to protect and safeguard Rangers Football Club from the forces that were bent on destroying it at that time.
“Indeed, the complaint against me was initiated by the RIFC Board at that time (chaired by David Somers) in an attempt to prevent my efforts – along with other notables – to bring about regime change. Despite this latest sanction (and having to spend more than 1 million in litigation costs) I have no regrets whatsoever that I chose to follow this path. The present resurgent state of Rangers is sufficient reward for me.
“It is important to note that in its findings the Hearings Committee found no evidence of detriment to RIFC’s shareholders and further noted that any non-compliance by me with the rules of the Takeover Panel was not motivated by financial gain or commercial advantage. Quite the opposite. My investment was motivated – to quote the Hearings Committee – “solely for the love of the club.”