Institutional investors had bought £17m worth of shares, with supporters committing in the region of £5m in the past week, and Rangers International Football Club plc will be listed on the Alternative Investment Market this morning.
The club had initially sought to generate £20m from the sale, then revised that total upwards when institutions oversubscribed. Their investment was capped at £17m to keep £10m available to supporters, who managed to reach almost half that amount despite the proximity of Christmas, 37,000 fans having already committed money to season tickets earlier in the year.
The Rangers Supporters Trust bought £250,000 of shares on behalf of members, who now include Alastair Johnston, the former Rangers chairman, and Kris Boyd, the ex-Rangers striker who contributed £5000. The RST members will hold the bloc of shares as a group and each individual will have a vote in the return for their input. The IPO shares were sold at 70p, meaning that the original investors, who funded the £5.5m purchase of the business and assets of the club from Rangers Football Club plc in administration last May, have in theory doubled their money, although they cannot sell their shares for 18 months under AIM rules.
"Overall, a figure of £20m is a very successful fund-raise for an IPO of a business that was bought for less than £6m only some six months ago," said Neil Patey, of the accountants Ernst and Young.
"The valuation is very strong given the current position of Rangers compared to Celtic in terms of immediate revenue potential and given the relatively weak financial position of Scottish football as a whole. In the event that Rangers were to find themselves in a league outside of Scotland [European league, English Premiership], there could be a significant upside to the IPO valuation, but it is difficult to envisage a material upside to this valuation within the current Scottish set-up.
"The balance of the fund-raise is different from what I expected. I felt that Charles Green may struggle to garner sufficient support from institutional investors/high net worth individuals who would be more focused on financial returns, but would do better from fans who would invest more based on emotion and less on the need to see a profit on their investment. As it is, £17m from institutional/high net worth sources based upon the IPO valuation is higher than I expected. This, in turn, may have had an impact on the fans' appetite to invest, who may otherwise have been more inclined to dig deep to 'save' the club. This, combined with the time of year and the general economic hardship felt by many, could have resulted in a weaker take-up of funds than was hoped for by Charles Green."
The money raised from the share issue will be used for working capital, investment in the club and the stadium, and to maximise the property assets. The successful share issue represents vindication for Green and his fellow directors, who have overcome initial scepticism to win over fans.
The IPO prospectus, published earlier this month, revealed that Mike Ashley, the owner of Newcastle United and the retail firm Sports Direct, is an investor, while leading investment funds – such as Hargreave Hale, Artemis Investment Management, Cazenove Capital Management and Legal and General Investment Management – are among the new shareholders, which is an endorsement of the club's business plan.
The prospectus also included details of the remuneration packages for Green, Imran Ahmad, the commercial director, and finance director Brian Stockbridge. They will all receive substantial bonuses for Rangers climbing back out of the SFL.