Rangers’ largest shareholder and former club chairman Dave King has agreed to sell his shareholding to fans group Club 1872 in a landmark deal.
When the sale is complete it will make Club 1872 Rangers’ largest single shareholder with King selling the shares at 20p per share if the buyout is completed by December 2021.
However the buyout may take place over a period of three years with it being Dave King’s intention that this will protect the club from the sort of corporate governance which led to the events of 2012.
In a statement, Dave King – who does not intend to profit from the deal – said:
“After completion of my service as Chairman I took time to consider how I can create a final legacy by giving supporters – including future generations – substantial shareholder influence for the first time in the almost 150 years history of our Club. The time to launch a “Never Again” campaign is now.
“I made it repeatedly clear that I reinvested in the Club somewhat reluctantly and only because without my support it was proving impossible for local Scottish supporters to martial sufficient financial resources to save Rangers from the impending doom that was unavoidable at that time.
“In addition I committed to investing further and doing whatever else it took (e.g. getting rid of Sports Direct/Mike Ashley) to see Rangers competing for Scottish titles and in Europe. That is firmly the case now.
“As I look forward I must recognise that my family is based in South Africa and I cannot be certain as to what approach they would take to owning shares in the Club when I can no longer influence this.
“After considering the possible options I concluded that the only meaningful way I could deliver enduring supporter influence in my absence would be to allow supporters – via Club 1872 – to increase their influence at shareholder level by acquiring my shares over a period of time that is considered to be achievable by Club 1872.
“I do not intend to profit from my efforts over the last 6 years to save our Club, even though the Club is now substantially more valuable partly through my efforts.
“I have coined the term “Never Again” as I truly believe that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make supporters – in perpetuity- the number one shareholder in the Club.
“Fortunately, the present Board supported me in my vision to see an increased shareholder influence for our fans but we cannot be sure of the fondness for this by future directors. The time to achieve this is therefore now.
“It has been beneficial to have in Club 1872 a supporter group that is willing to challenge the Club when it feels necessary to do so and is also willing to support the Board when key resolutions that protect the Club need to be passed. Club 1872 did that extremely well during my period as Chairman to the extent that I have absolute confidence that Club 1872 is the right vehicle for me to work with to advance supporter shareholder ownership – both now and in the future.
“I would urge Rangers supporters to join Club 1872 today and ensure that the events of 2012 can “Never Again” be repeated.”
As a part of purchasing the shares Club 1872 will aim to create 20,000 legacy members of the organisation who will each retain a lifetime vote on the shares held within RIFC.
The agreement will also allow Club 1872 and Dave King to be a part of any further share issue in order to ensure that the group’s share of the club isn’t diluted, provided funds are available to partake.
Club 1872 director Laure Fawkes described the situation as a “huge” for Rangers, Club 1872 and the Ibrox support and hopes it will be a “seminal moment for both Rangers Football Club and the supporters”.
“The rebuilding of the Club, largely overseen by the Rangers Board under Dave King’s Chairmanship, has been remarkable – from the position in 2012 to once again challenging for domestic titles and in European competition,” said Fawkes.
“Club 1872 can continue to assist with that process whilst ensuring that the wellbeing of the club remains at the centre of decision making in the longer term.
“We fully understand the financial pressures that supporters are under in the current economic climate, and the huge contribution they have already made to Rangers this season through season ticket sales and merchandise.
“But, if they can dig deep one more time and join Club 1872 today as legacy members, then over the next couple of years we can together ensure that the club will remain in safe hands for generations to come.”