Rangers: fakeover or takeover?
30/03/2011 71 Comments
Today’s SKY Sports reports that Lloyds have cleared the way for Craig Whyte to complete his takeover of Rangers is interesting.
As others have noted, is this finally the Messiah or is it yet another round of PR headgames?
When it comes to media manipulation and Rangers FC it is hard to be too extreme. We have seen decades of Sir David Murray’s spin-machine at work. Now that it is about serious issues, we have seen some incredible stuff in the media.
So what is it? Fakeover or takeover? I have seen nothing that indicates that Craig Whyte has the wealth necessary to conclude such a deal with or without the taxcase. (I have looked). A trail of shell companies with a very poor track record of compliance with Companies House filing requirements and transactions that never seem to be much more than a few hundred thousand pounds. Let us not forget that he was recently taken to court over a measly £80k for building materials. (Odd that I did not find any companies in his portfolio that resold building materials. Anyone know the outcome of this case?)
But let us just suspend disbelief and go with the idea that Whyte does have some money. I would question the sanity of anyone who was willing to meet the stated price for Rangers. So I refuse to believe the story as it has been spun, a £33m purchase that would clear the debt and give MIH a nice consolation prize. Even if sold for a much lower price or just given away, that is not the end of the issue.
For Rangers’ problems to go away, he needs to have deep enough pockets to be able to pay off the tax bill. Stories that someone else will guarantee this are incredible. Any guarantee that does not include £60m in cash going into escrow is not worth the paper it is written on. For when HMRC call, they will not care for pieces of paper and promises. If not paid on time, it will still be Rangers FC who are forced into administration. It could take a couple of years for Rangers’ new owner to force a guarantor to pay up. His shares in his company would be long gone by then. Whyte’s legal recourse would be to take the guarantor to court. If that guarantor is Sir David Murray, I would advise caution. Companies House records show that Sir David has been moving at least some of his assets into offshore trusts.
The guarantee of a man who may not have any or many assets in his own name is not worth much at all.