21 May 2012

Revealed: the rejected bid to buy Rangers

Amidst all the secrecy, the refusal to break cover, the smoke and general mirrors surrounding the Rangers fiasco – suddenly, along comes a surprise. Tristan Loughrey, a Scotsman who has spent more than 20 years out of the country closing various deals as an investment banker among other trades, is nothing if not frank and open.

When a man sits on a street café pavement in Baker Street, west London and calmly explains how he claims access to around 850m euros of funding to buy Rangers, the first thing you want to say is: “prove it”.

So I do. It seems a little rude, but as we sit there supping succulent cappuccino and particularly fine tap water, Tristan Loughrey unwraps his plan.

“It was 11 May,” he recalls, “when I was in contact with the Rangers administrators Duff and Phelps, with a view to buying the club. I was asked to fill in an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) with which we would take things forward.”

“So what happened next?” I asked

“Well that’s the strange thing. Nothing at all happened. I heard nothing until a day or so later when I suddenly see they’ve given the deal to Mr Green and his consortium.”

“So how do you feel about that?” I asked.

“Well,” he muses, appearing more mystified than angry, “I’m baffled by it frankly. I mean it’s not like they did not do due diligence on me and my finances – they didn’t do any diligence at all. Why ask me to fill in the NDA – effectively a way of looking into the finances with confidentiality, if you’re not seriously interested at all?”

Email exchange

Asked by Channel 4 News to prove the email exchange took place with Duff and Phelps, the emails duly arrived. We have an email from Charles Walder at Duff and Phelps dated 11 May sent to Tristan Loughrey at 17.08pm attaching a scanned copy of the NDA – the first step to take when a potential bid is seriously entertained by an Administrator.

The email from Mr Walder concludes: “Please note that the NDA needs to be completed by yourself and any party that you are representing. Please also confirm who the key members of your consortium are and the source of the funding to support any offer you will make for the business and assets of the Club.”

Tristan Loughrey duly signed and sent. It was getting late on a Friday and he could not get the papers in place at that hour of the business week, he says, to set out the source of his funding.

He expected to hear from Duff and Phelps on Monday morning – instead he heard that Charles Green was the exclusive bidder on the Sunday. He was astonished by this then, and he is astonished by it now. And he certainly does lay claim to exceedingly large funds.

Substantial funds

Channel 4 News has seen a copy of an account held in the Malaga branch of La Caixa – a major Spanish savings bank. The balance of this account was – as of 27 January 2012, some 500m euros. The account is held under the name of Maurizio Gigliosi whom Tristan Loughrey says is his business partner. He claims to have power of attorney over this money to be used for funding major investments like the take-over of Rangers.

We do not have firm proof as yet that he does, in fact, have control of these funds, but I am promised an email to that effect from the bank itself and the officer named on the account as Jose Ordono Artes. Mr Loughrey says his business partner.

Further, Tristan Loughrey also said when we met that he had access to a euro bond to the value of 350m euros over and above the Spanish funding. Again I asked him to prove it and today he sent through several documents detailing the Bond. In fact the documentation we have received is scores of pages including the Trust Deed and Collateral Deed.

Explanation

Attaching these deeds to me by email he gave Channel 4 News to following explanation:

“There is a credit rating of BBB+ from the large German rating agency called Scope with this bond which is deposited in Deutsche Bank London at their custodial account through State Street bank (of which can be checked on Euroclear , Bloomberg etc..) Obviously if things are different – I would have the original PPM of Seylynn village changed to the Rangers project and start selling the bond not only to my investors and exit buyers including insurance companies, pension funds and high net worth individuals but also to retail buyers including the Rangers faithful who would be helping their club through buying one of these bonds and also receiving a 6.5 per cent annual interest payment (better than any banks interest) and guaranteed return of principal after maturity in just over eight (8) years. The amounts received on this play would cover all debts and have a positive cash flow for years to come.”

In essence, the bond is drawn up in respect of a property deal in Canada – Seylynn Village – which did not go ahead. Mr Loughrey says that changing the property element to the bond is possible and the business plan for funding is set out by himself in the email I received today. Not being an accountant I have no idea whether this stands up or not.

Considering all offers?

But what is not disputed is that Duff and Phelps did not look at any business plan because – it being late on a Friday, Mr Loughrey did not submit one at the time. We know Duff and Phelps were in a hurry after the Miller fiasco, to sell Rangers somehow. But was it at all costs? Were they not obliged to find the best deal for creditors in law?

Naturally Tristan Loughrey emailed Duff and Phelps to find out why he had not been considered? Why had nobody asked again to look at his plan before going with Charles Green? Charles Walder at Duff and Phelps emailed him on 15 May at 08.3am:

Tristan

I refer to your interest in acquiring the business and assets of the Club.

The Joint Administrators have entered a legally binding exclusivity agreement with another party.  As such, any prior discussions with yourselves are now terminated and the Joint Administrators will not be progressing your interest any further.

Regards

The next morning, on 16 May, Tirstan Loughrey made his feelings clear to Duff and Phelps, the Rangers Administrators:

Hi Charles,

I thank you for getting back to me in regards to the D&Ps rejection of my offer to buy Rangers – but I was just a little bit surprised that your firm did not take into consideration my bidding for the club as it was going to be a far superior offer to what has already been accepted and it would have satisfied not only the Rangers fans but the creditors including HMRC.

I do have verifiable proof of funds in the EUR 500 Million range and also have a 350 Million euro bond that could be applied to the ongoing funding of the club for many years to come with the future security of the club assured. I do appreciate that you are working for D&P and cannot make unilateral decisions but it would be helpful for my own piece of mind if you could explain to me the rejection of my offer?

Thanking you in advance for your timely response.

Best Regards

Tristan Loughrey

Read more: Rangers’ complex connections explained

Hoaxer or genuine?

On May 17 at 13.40pm Charles Calder simply wrote back saying that since they had actually received no formal detailed offer there was nothing for them to reject. Duff and Phelps declined to comment on today’s disclosures by Channel 4 News. But clearly any administrator in a process like this has to draw a line at some point in the proceedings. There are often mischievous fake bidders out there and all kinds of chancers.

We do not know quite where Mr Loughrey sits. Is he simply one of those? He insists he is genuine and has clearly sent Channel 4 News considerable documentation linked to hundreds of millions of pounds.

He has also sent emails to and received emails from Duff and Phelps to that effect. Hoaxer or real – both sides in this agree that they never saw the colour of his money and he never had the chance to put his case.

Ultimately you must make your own judgement about this curious tale. Certainly Tristan Loughrey came late to the table. Certainly we cannot finally say whether or not this man really does have control of the kind of funds set out the documents now in our possession. But he has been very open and frank about his approach. He says he has a perfectly workable way of funding the club’s survival with the kind of money one suspects Mr Green’s consortium could only dream about.

And both parties agree that – for whatever reasons, the fine print was never given any kind of examination by administrators Duff and Phelps. So the key question in all this should now be – if Mr Green and his consortium ‘do a Miller’ and the whole thing falls down for whatever reason – will Duff and Phelps be getting back in touch with Mr Loughrey and who knows who else who might be out there claiming to have the serious money to hand?

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33 reader comments

  1. David says:

    So, a guy who has almost a billion euros at his disposal is peed off because a bid he did not make with money he did not tell anyone about is rejected?

    What bid?

    He did not make any bid.

    And that is the “Mother of all oversights”?

    Don’t let the facts get in the way now.

    Why are you obsessed with this? No “good” wars to cover anywhere?

  2. supercollider says:

    is this guy loughren or loughrey? or does having 2 names merely add to his aura of mystery?

  3. Carntyne says:

    Yet another ‘saviour’.

    Did Mr. Loughrey ever let slip the name of Craig Whyte in your interview?

    Don’t forget Alex, wee Craigie is the key.

  4. Marty says:

    What a strange tale. A chap seemingly called Tristan Loughren who apparently signs off his emails with “Tristan Loughrey”. If Mr Loughren/Loughrey is for real he should stick around. Looks like Rangers have a fall-back worth 850 million euro if anything goes wrong with the Green deal. What do you think?

  5. lambie says:

    you sir are an idiot

  6. Philip Edwards says:

    Alex, I wouldn’t trust anybody whose first name is “Tristan.”

    Incidentally, who paid for the capuccino and water? :o)

  7. Jamie says:

    Did you ask him why he wanted to buy rangers Alex? I just don’t see the benefits in investing in any Scottish team unless you are a “dyed in the wool” fan and its purely sentiment. Doesn’t seem to be the case here. Very strange IMO.

  8. C.Watt says:

    If Mr.Loughrey is a serious contender,then he had several months in which to give notice of his interest.To now claim that he had not been given sufficient time is not believable.If he is an investment whizz,then he would know that there is only a set time for these things to get sorted.If as has been said,he has these funds,then it is a great pity that he left it too late to give notice and we as a club will be the worse off for his hesitation.

  9. Soracte says:

    “Piece of mind”???
    Which piece of Tristan’s mind?
    Is this not further pandering to the illiterate?

  10. Jamesywaddell says:

    One of the only reporters prepared to do a little digging on this subject…….Keep it up Alex.

  11. frank says:

    i am glad that someone like yourself from down south has decided to report the goings on at rfc in the next10 days watch the moves by sfa spl can you do a nationwide documentary when the dust has settled as there is a lot lot more about to be revealed please carry on the great work

  12. Railway Paddy says:

    ‘peace of mind’ Tristan. Not ‘piece of mind’.

  13. Ken says:

    Hoaxer or genuine?
    Well there was certainly enough there for YOU to attempt some diligence Alex – you have to wonder why D&P did not at least exercise same?
    Surely some serious questions must be raised in D&P’s overall handling of this Administration: their loyalties/priorities do not seem to be in the best interest of the creditors, their primary obligation. Act of desperation in evidence to grab the offer from the Green Consortium (I really want to say Green Knights – we’ve had just about every other colour!) in light of their miserable inability to convert the Miller deal; The Green deal again appears to be less than even fire-sale prices of the first team squad alone would generate.
    So you rightly ask the pertinent question “why was this potential at least not advanced beyond the point where it was summarily dismissed against what can hardly be called an overwhelmingly convincing alternative offer?

  14. Danny says:

    Why would anyone be prepared to sink €500,000,000.00 into any Scottish football team and in particular in Rangers (in administration)? Where is the return on this investment going to come from as it is not possible in Scottish Football at this time given the current sponsorship and TV deals remembering the majority of income is generated through the turnstiles by supporters buying season tickets and merchandise?

    With regards the €350,000,000.00 bond at 6.5%. It would be really hilarious if this was a corporate bond underpinned by the financial performance of the underlying business i.e. Rangers FC PLC.

  15. Androcles says:

    Curiouser and curiouser……follow the white rabbit…………

  16. ross says:

    Alex I dont really see how you are helping anybody by putting out this rubbish and trying to wind people up. This is a serious issue that people care about deeply not some wee egotistical joke for an english journalist like yourself who clearly does not give a toss. If this is your next step and it is to try to ridicule the rangers support then so be it if thats the road you are now going down.

    1. Carntyne says:

      Alex Thomson doesn’t need to ridicule the Rangers support. They do quite nicely on their own.

  17. Althetim says:

    Can’t help thinking Mr Loughrey might be a bit of a publicity seeker. If you have access to funding such as that claimed and are willing to pay off the creditors thus retaining the company in its present form, why wait till the very last minute to come forward with a “bid”?

    Did Mr Loughrey’s nose extend during the interview?

  18. Shropshire Lad says:

    Haha, you have all been taken in by Celtic supporters and it’s not even April Fools Day.

    The previous interested parties were called Green and Whyte, with the Gold you now have the Irish tricolour. It’s amazing how easily senior press people are taken in.

    Come on the Canaries.

    1. Buckyrules says:

      Shropshire Lad is right, I know the Loughrey family and they are true Celtic followers.

      Forget this hoax and move on.

  19. Tony Hendrix says:

    Dodgy,very dodgy indeed.
    I smell a rat.

  20. Big Tickers says:

    I am sure there are some very serious questions to be asked regarding the role of D&P in this whole sorry process and whether they have managed to abide by the rules of administration. I don’t know who the governing body is who looks at firms performing the role of administrators but it would be interesting to see how they think D&P have performed in this case. However, I have to say that I believe that they have done the right thing in this instance in proceeding with the only viable offer they had (the Charles Green bid). It’s difficult for a fan like myself to understand why Mr Loughran came to the table so late in the day. I know that the Charles Green bid was also late in coming to the table but as he has stated, that they had been working in the background for several months. Surely Mr Loughran could have at least notified D&P of his interest earlier than he did? Especially if he is in receipt of the funds that he claims he is as it’s not like he was running around trying to put together a financial package which he felt could be acceptable to the administrators and/or creditors. I think that the problem D&P had was that they knew they were quickly running out of time to put together a deal which would ensure that RFC was out of administration before the beginning of next season and therefore avoid another points penalty. You just can’t keep stopping the process whenever someone says “Hey, I might be interested!”

    1. Tommy G says:

      Tristan Loughrey is an anagram of “Trust in grey halo.” Makes you wonder if it is all a hoax.

  21. billcee says:

    So a man that doesnt even know his own name didn’t put a bid in for Rangers using money that doesnt belong to him .How could the administrators not take him seriously….By far the most nothing story i’ve ever seen in my life

  22. Len McCoy says:

    If Tristan Loughrey really does have all of that money to invest in a Scottish football club then he’d be much better off investing it in Celtic, a club who don’t have any involvement with tax dodging, running up debts they don’t intend to honour and who have never cheated by using dual contracts. I’m sure the board at Celtic Park would be very interested in accommodating his desire to become involved in Scottish football. Why waste all that cash on a thoroughly tainted club?

    1. Marty says:

      Celtic have admitted they used an EBT and didn’t inform the SFA about it.

      1. Bruce says:

        Marty’s trolling again.

        The player came with an EBT. Brian Quinn made sure Celtic squared up with Hector.

        But I tell you what, Marty, fair enough. You git us bang to rights. So lets strip Celtic of any honours won with our 1 EBT player and strip RIA of any honours won with their, so far, 72 EBT’s (45 with side contracts acc to the BBC). That would seem a just and fair outcome.

  23. Willie Maley says:

    The bigger question is why would anyone with 500 million euros put them all into one account in one branch of a Spanish bank? Yikes! Well on second thought investing in rangers is just about as creditworthy.

  24. old codger says:

    Tristan Loughrey,’laughter in story’

  25. Judemary says:

    One of the green consortium is called Jude. St Jude is the patron saint of lost causes/hopeless cases!!

  26. viktor komorowski says:

    it is time to realise that the characters of the drama/comedia del arte/ farce of the rangers saga has many interesting and colourful players-craig whyte, the blue knights, oswald, ruby, the mafia.
    but these are only characters and scenery which obscures the real question-“why?”

    why were rangers killed?
    who benefitted?
    who has the power to cover it up?

    one can imagine a dark car park where a shadowy figure might suggest the key to the puzzle is to
    “follow the murray…”

  27. Mattliam says:

    Alex, what’s your view after last night BBC documentaryn the EBT’s & Duff & Phelps ??

  28. george m says:

    What is up with all these SPL chairmen , they should be charged with bringing the game into disrepute, UEFA article 2f which all member clubs must adhere to “ensure that sporting values always prevail over commercial interests”

Comments are closed.