Hargreave Hale has disclosed a significant stake in Rangers football club following its return to the stock market.
According to an announcement posted on the London Stock Exchange, Giles Hargreave’s (pictured) investment firm owns a little more than five million shares of the firm accounting for a 7.71% stake.
The firm said 4.7 million of the shares were held through unit trusts operated by Marlborough Fund Managers, with the remainder held on behalf of other discretionary clients.
The purchase took place on 18 December ahead of the company’s float on the Alternative Investment Market on 19 December at 70p per share. Shares ended the session on 76p, increasing the value of Hargreave Hale’s stake to £3.8 million.
Rangers, which was formed in 1872 and won 54 top flight titles, has gone through the most difficult period in its history after falling into administration on 13 February.
In the summer members of the Scottish Premier league voted against Rangers’ membership, resulting in the club being demoted to the Scottish third division.
The club, which is sitting at the top of the third division, announced its intention to return to the market earlier this month. It said it hoped to raise up to £20 million to strengthen the squad, improve and develop the club's properties and facilities, as well as providing additional working capital.
After the successful float, which exceeded expectations raising £22.5 million, Rangers' chief executive Charles Green expressed his 'joy' in an interview with the Glasgow Evening Times and said it marks the 'rebirth' of the football club.
'This is definitely the springboard for the rebirth of Rangers,' Green told the paper. 'Never in Rangers' history did it sit there with no debt, no borrowings, with cash in the bank. The enterprise value of Rangers is still very, very low and that's why, I believe, institutions have invested in it.'
He added: 'Having that list of institutions is a real endorsement that, not just people who are passionate about Rangers, but the hard-nosed, financial investment manager in London has looked at it and he's put his cash there. For me, that's another endorsement that what we're doing is the right thing.'
Green, who paid around £5.5 million to buy Rangers in June through his consortium, is the biggest shareholder with his stake worth around £23 million. Other significant shareholders include the fans, which own 12% and Newcastle FC owner Mike Ashley and the club's boss Ally McCoist, who own 4.6% and 2% respectively.
Meanwhile on the pitch the team celebrated the successful float by thumping Annan Athletic 3-0 in front of 42,135 fans at Ibrox, stretching its winning run to seven games and its lead at the top of table to six points.
McCoist was cautiously optimistic on the club's future in an interview following the game. 'We need to use the money raised by everyone – fans and investors alike – wisely. I would hope to do just that,' he said.