No Town take-over

FEARS that Ipswich Town could be the target of a hostile take-over when a share issue takes place in October have been allayed by the club's chief executive Derek Bowden.

FEARS that Ipswich Town could be the target of a hostile take-over when a share issue takes place in October have been allayed by the club's chief executive Derek Bowden, writes Derek Davis.

The concerns were raised during a fans' forum at Portman Road in the wake of an announcement that the Blues were seeking approval by existing shareholders to go ahead with the new share issue.

Bowden explained that while there would be no upper limit to the amount that could be raised, there would be a maximum percentage any one investor, or group, would be allowed to acquire.

He said: "Safeguards will be in place to ensure no one can buy a controlling interest in the club from the share issue.

"It was always possible that someone could try and take over the club before, but it never happened."

As Ipswich Town do not own the ground then the club, as a saleable asset, is not an attractive proposition for a carpetbagger.

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The share price will be unveiled this weekend and supporters will have to buy a minimum of £200 worth of shares.

When Norwich City issued shares last season they were priced at £25 each with a minimum purchase of £100, or preferential shares of £100 with a minimum investment of £1,000.

Bowden explained Town would not be issuing preferential shares as such but investors would be given benefits on a sliding scale comparative to how much they put in but these would not disadvantage existing season ticket holders or away match passport holders and Portman Plus members.

The club has not set a target on how much it hopes to raise but if all the 18,000 fans who bought season tickets this year bought the minimum £200 allocation a sizeable £3.6m would be pumped into the club.

Bowden denied that the money would be used for extravagant player purchases or a return to excessive wages.

He added: "After the success in season ticket sales and debentures, the loan stock issue and the sale of players and reduction in wages, this is the icing on the cake.

"The fundraising is to underpin the financial footing of the club."

The share issue is part of the CVA agreed by creditors in May and Mr Bowden revealed that most creditors were still trading with the club and backed this scheme.

The present board of directors will initially be the same board on the plc, but will become more accountable to a wider range, and larger number of shareholders.

But the current board and chairman David Sheepshanks will have to stand for re-election at some point, with two directors up for re-election at the next AGM, which will be held after the share issue closes.

It is envisaged the offer will be open for one month from October, but could be extended to two months.

An EGM will be held in the first week of August allowing shareholders to vote on the proposed share isue with 75% needed to give the go ahead.

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