A Danish investor who bought £1 million of Mike Ashley’s shares in Rangers has been appointed to the club’s board. Alongside fans group Club 1872 Julian Wolhardt helped snap up the shares from the Sports Direct owner last year.
Now he has increased his influence at the Ibrox club.
“Significant influence or control”
The move was confirmed today in documents lodged at Companies House. These documents also revealed the significance of his role. They say: “Nature of control – has significant influence or control”.
Last year Rangers Chairman Dave King spoke positively of his influence. He said:
“Julian’s decision to invest in Rangers is exciting for the club.
His business background and acumen are exceptional and it is very pleasing that his scrutiny of the club and its strategy has convinced him of our financial prospects and the merits of our business plan.”
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Who is the Hong Kong based businessman?
Although Danish born, Julian Wolhardt is based in Hong Kong. He is the CEO of Dehong Capital Partners (DCP), a private equity firm based in the region. Prior to establishing DCP he worked ten years at KKR, a global private equity firm, worked with Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia, and worked in the Mergers and Acquisition Group of Lazard Frerers & Co. in the US.
An impressive C.V.
After buying shares of Rangers last year Wolhardt said:
“I am delighted to become an RIFC shareholder.
I have a long held love for Scotland and football and I am keen to see Rangers FC unlock its considerable commercial potential.
With the successful restructuring of the retail operations, RIFC is now on a firm financial footing and I look forward to being a part of its exciting future.”
Is he the “secret investor” fans have been speaking about?
Of course, there have been numerous rumours of a secret investor at Ibrox. Although these have never been substantiated, Wolhardt’s increased involvement will surely bring investment. Given he has already publicly pumped £1mn into the club, he’s also not exactly a “secret investor”.
The Sun are reporting that at the general meeting to be held next Friday, Borita Investments Limited – which is reportedly linked to Wolhardt – will purchase 7,500,000 shares.
Dave King’s meeting is to approve a £12m share issue.
Whatever the case, it’s certainly an interesting appointment by the Ibrox board.