LONDON Dec 5 (Reuters) - Scottish soccer club Rangers is aiming to raise up to 27 million pounds ($44 million) when it returns to the stock market this month, the club said on Wednesday.
The funds would help to support the recovery of Rangers, who have been Scottish champions a record 54 times. They are now playing in the lowly fourth tier of the Scottish game after their former parent company collapsed earlier this year.
Rangers disclosed that Mike Ashley, who owns English Premier League soccer club Newcastle United and controls retail chain Sports Direct, has a stake of almost 9 percent in the club as part of its new ownership team.
Ashley's stake will be diluted to 5.2 percent after the listing on the London Stock Exchange's junior AIM market where trading is expected to begin on Dec. 19. Chief Executive Charles Green will remain the largest shareholder with 8.67 percent.
The club said it anticipated a market capitalisation of around 50 million pounds upon flotation. The details were given in a document filed as part of the process leading up to the market launch.
Rangers was previously listed on the PLUS Stock Exchange but the shares were suspended in January. The company went into administration in February and was subsequently liquidated.
Rangers now tops the Scottish third division but it will take the club at least three years to return to the Scottish Premier League and resume its rivalry with fellow Glasgow club Celtic.
A number of British soccer clubs joined the stock market in the 1990s but investors were wary of putting money into teams whose fortunes were tied to sporting success and many have since delisted.
Manchester United, English champions a record 19 times, returned to the stock market when it listed in New York in August, valuing the club at $2.3 billion at the time. Priced at $14, the shares now trade at $13.12.