Mike Ashley's involvement with Rangers is at an end after he sold his entire shareholding in Rangers International Football Club PLC (RIFC) this afternoon. His shares have been bought by supporters group Club 1872 and Julian Wolhardt, the CEO of Dehong Capital Partners - a Hong Kong based private equity firm.
The move sees Club 1872 become the 2nd largest shareholder in RIFC and is likely to significantly bolster membership of the organisation which currently stands at around 8k people. Club 1872 now holds 10.71% of the shares in RIFC.
Ashley's shares have been sold at 27.5p meaning that Club 1872 and Woldhart have each spent around £1m.
Rangers fans will be celebrating the end of Ashley's involvement which has seen him continually block the board's attempts to hold a fund raising share issue which would also allow the Three Bears and Dave King to covert their interest free loans to the club into equity. This should now be able to go ahead following the RIFC AGM at the end of the year.
In a statement, Club 1872 said:
"Club 1872 is delighted to announce the purchase of a significant block of shares in Rangers International Football Club PLC (RIFC) - representing 4.46% of the total shares in the company. These shares have been purchased from MASH Holdings Limited.
Club 1872’s acquisition takes our shareholding in RIFC over 10%, a significant marker in our progress as a shareholder / investor in RIFC. We now hold 10.71%, making Club 1872 the second largest shareholder in RIFC.
We are delighted that our members’ support for Club 1872 has brought us to a point where we can acquire these shares and complete the process of restoring control of RIFC to those who view the footballing success of Rangers FC as being just as important as RIFC’s careful stewardship financially.
Club 1872 allows Rangers supporters to help safeguard the future of our Club. Taking our shareholding above 10% puts us well on our way to that goal.
Our next ambition is to reach out to those Rangers supporters who are not already members of Club 1872 and encourage them to join. Together we can achieve great things for our Club."
Supporters wishing to join Club 1872 can do so from as little as £5 per month here.