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Scottish football: Rangers reject Robert Sarver's £18m takeover offer for club

Robert Sarver, Phoenix Suns owner
Image: Robert Sarver: Takeover bid rejected

Rangers have rejected an £18m takeover offer from American Robert Sarver, the club has announced to the Stock Exchange.

It emerged on Sunday night that the owner of NBA side Pheonix Suns wanted to buy a controlling stake in the crisis-hit Ibrox outfit.

But the recent purchases of significant shareholdings by Dave King and the Three Bears group – wealthy fans Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor – made any such move highly unlikely.

And now the club's directors – who are still looking for emergency cash, despite announcing a £500,000 loan from football board chairman Sandy Easdale on Monday – have confirmed they have knocked back Sarver's offer, which they consider too low.

However, they have encouraged him to work with other supporters to help find a solution to Rangers' financial problems,

In a 7am statement to the London Stock exchange, the board announced: "The proposal by Mr Sarver comprises a placing of 100 million shares at 18p ("Placing") which, if approved by shareholders at a general meeting, would be immediately followed by an unconditional offer at 18p pursuant to Rule 9 of the Code. The Placing would give Mr Sarver control of Rangers.

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The Rangers board have rejected an £18m takeover bid from the American financier Robert Sarver

"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% majority required. The Directors do not intend to hold the General Meeting which would be necessary to implement the proposal.

"The Company is managing its cash resources carefully and will require further funding before the end of January. The Directors are in discussions with Rangers' significant stakeholders with a view to arranging finance for the Club.

“This is likely to comprise loans in the short term and possibly equity in the medium term. The board has invited Mr Sarver to consider participating in a similar discussion alongside other supportive shareholders."

Sarver made his offer just after Christmas after being encouraged to take a look at the ailing Glasgow giants by former Ibrox defender David Robertson - now a successful youth football director in Phoenix, Arizona.

In a separate Stock Exchange notice, the CEO of New York Stock Exchange-listed Western Alliance Bancorporation said: "My three sons all play soccer for Davie's club.

"Initially, I'd had some of my advisors examining potential investments in teams in the English Premier League and in Spain, but Davie encouraged me to take a close look at Rangers.

"Like all Rangers fans, he's really upset about how far the club has fallen in recent years and the more we spoke, the more interested I became. 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 and owning two major basketball franchises for the past decade has been an enormous privilege."

Robertson added: "I've known Robert for several years. He has been very supportive of our local club and has a very good reputation in the US.

"When he said he was looking to invest in football in Europe, I told him right away that Rangers could really be doing with someone with his track record. I explained how far the club has fallen, but that there was huge potential to rebuild it.

"Even though I'm now based over here, I always watch really closely how things  are going at Ibrox and it's tragic to see how a club which was once a force in Europe has been brought so low.

"I can tell every Rangers fan in Scotland and abroad, if Robert Sarver is  successful in becoming part of the club, he'll not rest until they are back on top again."

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