In an interview with the BBC yesterday, Sir David Murray suggested he was unable to give certain financial information on Rangers due to rules which inhibit casual comment on a PLC, but this did not deter him from boasting that he put over £100m into the club in the last 20 years.
BBC correspondent, Chick Young asked, "Can you quantify how much you have put into this club over the last 20 years?"
To which Murray replied, "Over a hundred million pounds, and I don't expect to get it back."
I found this surprising way for a PLC to represent information.
Murray put £50m into the club at their recent share issue. Although this was heralded as being a great injection into the club at the time, they have not acted like a club who became £50m richer since. That money reduced Rangers debt by £50m, but the debt remained with Murray International Holdings, Rangers parent company. Murray's companies also invested up to £32m in a share issue in 2000.
It is also worth pointing this money is not lost, as Murray tried to allude near the end of his interview, he retains these shares and will determine the price he sells them for.
Murray also paid former Rangers shareholders ENIC and Lawrence Marlborough when buying their shares, but the club did not see a penny of this money.
Rangers accounts detail "Related Party Transactions" between Murray's other companies and the football club. During some seasons he spent up to £395k with Rangers, principally for stadium advertising, although I understand he pays no money for the naming rights to the folly, Murray Park. Over 20 years, £395k here-and-there mounts up.
Related Party Transactions also record that during some seasons Rangers spent up to £4.298m with Murray's companies, "principally in relation to catering services, call centre, mail order operation, information technology and travel".
£4.298m is a lot of Bluenose Burgers etc. in one season, and don't forget the price of those burgers; the mark-up is incredible. Over 20 years figures like this really would add up to a tidy sum, maybe not quite £100m, but more than enough money to establish a fabulous lifestyle.
Before the £50m share issue Murray MHL Ltd provided a revolving credit facility to Rangers. You might well wonder why when two of your companies have bank borrowings, one company would contract a loan arrangement with the other.
This remains a mystery, but Rangers accounts reveal that Murray MHL Ltd charged "commercial rates" for this credit; one year this amounted to £288k in interest, nice work, if you can lend it. This money was put into the club but then taken out several times, as the cash balance of the club varied, so he almost certainly put in £100m overall, but this credit was all returned to lender, with a negative net balance for the club after interest.
Murray also seems to be confusing the question, "how much you have put into this club" with 'how much other people have put into this club'.
Murray International Holdings (MIH) own 62m Rangers shares while Murray Sports Limited (MSL) own 37m, but Murray himself only owns 67.5% of MIH and 57.1% of MSL. Accordingly, 62M x 67.5% plus 37m x 57.1% = 62.96m shares, or 58% of Rangers. The other 42% is owned by a myriad of investors, including small shareholders and HBOS, who own 11% of MIH.
While it is easy for Murray to suggest that he would not be difficult to deal with if the right person arrived with an offer for the club, convincing other shareholders, especially HBOS, who Murray's companies are in debt to, including a substantial amount repayable on demand, will be a tricky proposition. HBOS might be more inclined to suggest he continues to take the heat and hold out for an offer which matches their book valuation.
I almost fell off my chair when Murray asked Chick Young how to asset strip something you own! On listening again, though, I am sure "First of all, how can you asset strip what you own?" was a rhetorical question, and Young was not being asked for some highly suspect financial advice. After all why would a man who outsourced catering to his own company ask a question like this?
However, that comment brought to mind the other money Murray has put into Rangers, he bought the Albion Car Park from the club at the going rate, or at least, at a figure Rangers were happy with. I wonder if any of this land is subject to the planning application he mentioned in his interview?
For all his good work throughout the years, from breaking the taboos in 1989 to selling all those burgers, I think 'Murray' is no longer an apt name, from now on, I'll know him as Sir David Murphy!
His parting advice to Rangers fans to "leave the finance to me". What a character the man is.
Murphy must stay!