The Chairman of Rangers, Dave King faces the disdain of court proceedings Thursday, over the failure to make a court-ordered bid of £11 million for a majority of the club’s shares.
This case will take place in front of Lady Wolffe in the Court of Sessions, two weeks post rejecting his attempt towards thwarting a financial watchdog’s attempt in bringing a halt to the proceedings. The entire proof before answer’ hearing is scheduled to hear both legal as well as factual issues regarding the case.
It is the very first action which the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers has ever taken since been awarded statutory powers 12 years ago. Contempt of Court is seriously punishable by a fine and imprisonment.
This case comes due to Dave King’s failure to comply with the court order in the month of December which was to make a bid for a majority of the club’s shares after a court depicted that he acted with other shareholders towards taking control in 2015, expelling a board of directors said to be in good terms with Mike Ashley, Sports Direct Founder.
Lord Bannatyne was in support of the panel’s view which was that a formal takeover should have had been sparked after the Tree Bears Group, which was led by Dave King, maintained more than 30% of the voting rights in their own club.
Takeover code rules state that a written offer had to be made to the shareholders within 28 days of a big announcement being made, but so far had not been made. Dave King previously said that this had been held up because he had to transfer funds from South Africa to the UK.
Dave King previously also denied to being in contempt to court has no concerns about the matter and insisted that he is doing everything possible in settling the matter. This case is being keenly monitored by Chester solicitors and many others interested in financial law within sport.
Lady Wolffe previously mentioned that the court could make a decision on whether the South-African businessman purposely chose not to adhere to Lord Bannatyne’s order. The Ibrox chief was fighting in the courts to avert the pressure to buy the shares, worried about the financial toll it would take on him.
In October, during a hearing Lord Davidson of Glen Clova QC, who was Dave Kind’s lawyer, argued that the club’s chief is broke. Furthermore, he also said that any order would not secure compliance and it is futile to think so. He previously said that the judge crossed the limits and ordered him to make a compulsory offer at the price of 20p per share.
Dave King’s advocate argued that the takeover panel required the Lord Advocate’s confirmation over the unique court action by the watchdog which is now being brought as a civil matter with criminal consequences.
It has been argued that the Lord Advocate must receive the details of the petition as well as a given time to comment on it. It was understood that the panel’s spokesperson did not deem it necessary, but Lady Wolffe had rejected the argument mentioning that the law dictates that the Lord Advocate’s nod is only required for certain cases.
In the month of April, a letter to the shareholders by John Bennett, who was the chairman of an independent directors group of the Rangers International Football Club stated that a legitimate announcement from one of King’s companies was not cash confirmed by a third party, which was exactly required by Rule 2.7(d) of the takeover code.
He also stated in a circular that this will be addressed punctually post the 4th of April so that in the instance the offer to the shareholders is made, the cash which will be required to fund it will successfully be ring-fenced by a third party.
The takeover group led by King included Ranger Supporters Trust and Ranger First Member George Taylor, Park’s Motor group founder Douglas Park and Rangers Fan George Letham. This group always denied that they had jointly acted towards the purchasing of shares in Rangers on the 31st of December 2014 and the 2nd of January 2015.