Takeover waits on newco
By Stuart Gillespie
Updated Friday, 22nd June 2012
No decision on whether to accept 10000Hours bid for a controlling interest in Saints will be made until after SPL clubs have voted on whether to allow a newco Rangers into the top flight on July 4.
The community interest company met with the selling consortium in a bid to finalise their offer yesterday. No news was forthcoming, but a statement was released this morning which reads as follows:
"Representatives of the 10000hours CIC met with the selling consortium yesterday afternoon and presented an offer to purchase the majority shareholding in St Mirren Football Club.
"The bid which was tabled is subject to certain conditions relating to the commercial revenues on which the club currently relies to enable it to compete in the SPL.
"This revenue is currently surrounded by uncertainty given events occurring elsewhere that are beyond the control of either the CIC or the selling consortium.
"After long and productive talks it was agreed by both parties that it was prudent to wait for clarity surrounding the commercial revenues of the SPL before committing to any potential deal.
"10000hours therefore encourage all fans who have engaged thus far to remain positive and continue to raise awareness and support for the fan buyout of the majority shareholding.
"The selling consortium are pleased at the level of support the St Mirren fans have given to the 10000hours bid and acknowledge that a fans’ group that is now 1,000 members strong represents a very powerful voice within the football club.
"As such the Board of the football club has agreed that such a wide supporter base provides a useful conduit to consult in relation to the NewCo debate which is currently the cause of much concern amongst the St Mirren support.
"It has therefore invited 10000hours to gather opinion and comment from its members with regards to the NewCo proposals as they become clearer and to pass those thoughts formally onto the Board."
First of all, well done to the board for being prepared to listen to the fans on this, something they have been unwilling to do before. However, it doesn't say they will then vote based on the fans' views! It's also pretty obvious what the response will be - a poll on Black and White Army shows more than 95 per cent of fans believe Rangers should not be allowed into the SPL.
However, the key part of the statement is this section: "The bid which was tabled is subject to certain conditions relating to the commercial revenues on which the club currently relies to enable it to compete in the SPL. This revenue is currently surrounded by uncertainty given events occurring elsewhere that are beyond the control of either the CIC or the selling consortium."
The revenue in question is the Sky deal and other associated sponsorships. There has been no definitive, official response from Sky about their intentions should newco Rangers be booted out, but it would seem the CIC is waiting to see what happens. To me, there are a number of reasons for this:
They want to buy the club for less: If Sky vanishes, the club will be worth a lot less and 10000Hours may not be prepared to pay what the selling consortium wants. Of course, it's possible that it may not be able to pay the current price but will be able to meet a reduced price if Sky pull out. However, the CIC have previously said they were committed to paying the £2million asking price if we'd been relegated last year - and the club would have been worth a heck of a lot less if it had been in the first division.
The Sky money is essential to the deal: A condition of Big Issue Invest's £500,000 loan is there is still the same commercial income from the SPL - ie Sky. If Rangers are voted out than BII may suddenly get a bit nervous and say no. However, if the current board votes yes so the deal can go through then a number of pledgers may suddenly pull out. Many people involved with the CIC have said on forums they aren't going back if Rangers are still in the SPL next season so it wouldn't be a surprise to see them pull out of 10000Hours as well, which could make the deal unsustainable. A classic damned if you do, damned if you don't moment.
The CIC doesn't want Rangers in the SPL: The third, final and extremely unlikely scenario. It's likely the people involved with 10000Hours know the feelings of the Saints' support about a newco Rangers and know that the Ibrox club being in the SPL next season could lose them support. Do therefore require Rangers to be voted out before committing to a deal? If that's how they want to play things then good on them and I'd be sorely tempted to sign up but, as I said, it's unlikely.
While today's statement adds yet more confusion, one thing is clear - it's yet another deadline. And it may all be irrelevant anyway with three clubs already officially announcing they plan to kick out newco Rangers - with more set to follow.
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