Rangers International Football Club PLC has made no Stock Market announcements since 24th April 2013. (I checked at 7.35 am today).
Since then however the rumours and speculation have increased on a daily basis, yet no official comment has been issued.
A Rangers spokesman was quoted in one media report (well, I am sure in many more, but one I have seen) saying that Rangers do not comment on speculation.
If you look at the Stock Market page where its announcements are listed, we see one labelled “Response to Media Speculation” on 24th April and , just over a week earlier “Response to Media Comments”. Maybe not commenting on speculation is a new policy?
The Sun reported what it claimed were minutes of a board meeting of the PLC. These alleged that the non-executive Chairman, who has a vital role protecting the interests of shareholders as opposed to the executives, had lost a vote of confidence. The report also alleged that he had been given notice to quit earlier this year but avoided being removed by agreeing to step down – and then Mr Murray refused to step down.
I suspect that such matters involving a PLC non-executive Chairman are highly relevant to the course of the company and potentially to its share price.
Why is Mr Mather, the new interim CEO and now a Board member, not listed as such on the official Rangers website?
Why is Mr Green still listed on the website as a Director and in the capacity of CEO? Whilst he may still be on the Board, he is not CEO, is he?
We hear rumours that Walter Smith and other non-execs are considering “walking away”. Are these not worthy of comment?
What about the sale of shares to the Easdales? Directors’ share dealings are meant to be disclosed. Even if strictly an agreement to see at a future stage is not something that MUST be reported, surely the proposed sale to two men who are vocal about getting a place on the Board themselves, and potentially buying up to 29.9% of the shares is something relevant to the market price?
What about the Pinsent Masons/DeLoittes/Roy Martin QC report re dealings between Rangers employees and Craig Whyte? Rangers fan websites are chocked full of reports saying that the investigation has cleared Mr Green and Mr Ahmad of any wrongdoing.
Surely this is price-sensitive data? Ought that to be disclosed, or if these are false rumours, some of them coming from people who seem to be “in the know” about dealings at Ibrox, shouldn’t this be made clear by Rangers?
What about the departure of Mr Ahmad? In the prospectus as a Key Employee and then a non-person?
The Stock Exchange rules do not require every rumour to be denied. However if information is potentially price sensitive, then the absence of a denial almost leads one to the conclusion that the comments are correct.
It may of course be that every single one of the maters above is wrong. The purported minutes might be a fake or inaccurate. Mr Murray might not have been on the point of being forced out. He might not have said he was going to leave. He might not have faced a confidence vote. The Pinsent Masons report might be weeks from a conclusion. Mr Ahmad might have resigned to spend more time looking after his mother’s bank account. All of the non-execs might be in perfect harmony with the rest of the Board.
As I mentioned before, it might be the view of Rangers advisers that, in fact, the shares are so lightly traded that there is no need to release statements on these matters, as there is not really a market to be affected. I bow to their NOMAD, Cenkos, on that one.
But does it not all seem a bit of a mess?
I have been told that concerns have been raised with the AIM regarding alleged issues of non-disclosure. As with many of these official investigations, if indeed my information is correct, it might take some time before matters are resolved.
Does anyone fancy a bet on when the next regulatory announcement by Rangers will be issued? Where is Ray Winstone with the odds when we need him?
Posted by Paul McConville