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City Gives Huxford the Nod

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 11/07/2001

THE STOCK EXCHANGE'S Takeovers and Mergers Panel has formally backed former Vice Chairman Bryan Huxfords's plan to to take control of Grimsby Town by purchasing shares from existing investors. The panel, however, has ruled that the airline chief will have to issue a full prospectus to shareholders.

Mr Huxford indicated he was happy to go ahead with the full prospectus, which would take about three weeks to prepare, "subject to me getting indications that there are sufficient people willing to sell their shares."

Huxford's plans received partial success last week when four former board members agreed to sell him their shares. However the big stumbling back is that the Grimsby businessman needs 76 per cent of the equity for the takeover to succeed - a figure that cannot be attained without the support of chief shareholder Dudley Ramsden, who owns a 26% stake in the club.

It is believed that a 76% holding would give Huxford the power to overcome the block on the issuing of new shares and change the "articles of association" (a document describing the purpose, place of business, and details of the company). It would also enable a holding company to be created for GTFC which could control management and operations by influencing or electing its board of directors.

The battle of the boardroom is becoming increasingly acrimonious, with Huxford saying recently: "There are financial institutions waiting to invest but that money is not apparently welcomed by the current board. You will have to ask them why that is. It is clear that something needs to be done to secure the future of this club in the First Division and I have greater aspirations than that."

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