What does the word ‘billionaire’ mean?
As we have seen on Planet Fitba it can have very elastic definitions, especially when it is associated with Ibrox.
Now apparently there is a new billionaire on the block.
It is undoubtedly the case that Mr Jim McColl is a rich man, but I cannot find any evidence that he is a ‘billionaire’.
The dictionary definition is ‘a person whose wealth amounts to at least a billion dollars, pounds, or the equivalent in other currency’.
Jim McColl’s Clyde Blowers is a Scottish success story
They are profitable and innovative and last year they made £4.3 million.
Jim McColl owns 60% of this private company so I reckon his slice of the action to be around £2.6 million.
Last year the highest paid director (I’m guessing that is McColl although there are no names in the accounts) took out £1.3 million.
It cost me a quid to get this from company’s house, but you can have it for free.
As well as Clyde Blowers there is Clyde Blowers Capital.
This is an investment fund that raises money from the likes of pension funds and manages those monies in a niche area where they have expertise.
One the scale of money management this is a small operation.
There are various funds under management and the largest appears to be £450 million.
Jim McColl does not own these funds, but he gets a percentage of the increase in value of these monies and a small management fee.
If, as some in the mainstream media contend, Jim McColl is a billionaire then no doubt these award winning journalists will be able to point out where he has earned that billion pounds.
I certainly can’t find where that billion is or how it was
He is without doubt a rich man and smart operator.
Jim McColl is a genuine businessman and not a scam artist like Craig Whyte.
The only similarity between the guy from Clyde Blowers and the Motherwell born billionaire is that they both live in Monaco.
McColl also has also earned his spurs as a turnaround consultant and this could be important in the Sevco saga.
This is the role that Donald Muir carried out at Rangers for the Lloyds banking Group.
The entire thing about these highly paid trouble shooters is to implement financial discipline on a corporate car wreck that is bleeding money.
Although the klan snarled that Donald Muir was ‘the enemy within’ he actually was part of a team that turned around the Ibrox trading figures quite substantially.
However, his was a short term gig and it wasn’t about putting a long term sustainability plan in place.
The bank had lent recklessly to Rangers and he was there to get it back for them.
It wasn’t his concern who bought the club in May 2011 as long as Lloyds Banking Group got their £18 million.
Were Jim McColl and his associates to get control of Sevco then he would have his people chainsaw costs in a way that no one emotionally committed to the Ibrox brand has ever witnessed before.
Although the paper value of McColl’s empire is in the hundreds of millions he doesn’t have access to that money as liquidity.
McColl will know that Rangers lost around £150M during the Murray years.
Probably only Real Madrid, Barca and Man City would have such catastrophic trading losses.
That financial carnage at Ibrox was hidden from view by the revaluation of assets in 2005 to show a healthy balance sheet.
Murray’s entire empire, not just Rangers, was artificially respirated by cheap credit.
When Lehman Brothers toppled in 2008 and the corporate dominoes toppled across the planet the money spigot was turned off overnight.
However even in 2009 when the debt berg was heading for Edmiston Drive the hacks wilfully looked the other way.
However, I did not and I was convinced that it was very bad news for Murray’s empire and, ipso facto, for Rangers.
They hacks were locked into providing a good news narrative for their mainly Rangers supporting customer base.
I’m afraid that bedtime story churnalism TUPEd over to Sevco last summer.
So is McColl is a wealthy man?
The global ballpark figure of his corporate worth is impressive, but it isn’t a billion.
However, he probably has something like £10-£20 million in easily accessible short term money.
There is no doubt though that, in business terms, he is the real deal.
He has a degree in Technology and Business Studies from Strathclyde University and the MBA from the same institution marks him out as a very smart lad. So this is someone with a proper business CV.
It is the resume of a careful number cruncher and not one of a reckless vainglorious Sugar Daddy
Jim McColl fixes companies with financial indiscipline.
That corporate surgery isn’t painless and it isn’t pleasant, but it works.
That’s why he was head hunted by Coopers & Lybrand in 1985.
Jim McColl is a serious operator and not a scam artist like Craig Whyte.
So it is a safe bet that at Sevco, should he ever have control there, would see him bring in severe austerity that would impact on the on-field product.
Finally the Ibrox outfit would be one that would live within its means.
McColl is a millionaire and, indeed, one in the high millions.
However, he isn’t Warren Buffet or Arab Sheik daft money billionaire.
He isn’t Sheikh Mansour, but, as we say in Donegal, he’s a smart hoor, that’s for sure.
His blowers from the Clyde are giant fans and specially designed compressors that are used in the oil and gas industry.
This is a hard way to earn a living in an unforgiving business environment
Now he is being asked to be a Sugar Daddy to what is effectively a financial sink hole with a baying customer base that are at the end of their tether and want the good times back.
Clyde Blowers has been grown by acquisition and acquiring part of Textron in 2008 further consolidated Clyde Blowers as a player.
That take over will almost certainly have been a ‘Leveraged Buy Out (LBO) and so there will be some debt in this private company.
Overall Mr McColl is a serious operator and nothing in his background suggests Sugar Daddy material-quite the opposite.
If he were to get control of Sevco then he would bring someone in who would chainsaw the cost base.
It would feel like Administration.
All the fat would have to be cut away so Super Ally could be in trouble…
Standing between the McColl group and control of Sevco are the current incumbents of the Blue Room and the Easdale family.
Here Mr Easdale clears up any confusion that he might be involved in organised crime.
Yes he was in prison, but his debt to society has been paid, which is more than can be said of Rangers who, of course, died last year in disgrace owing millions to the exchequer as well as stiffing the Ambulance Service and local family businesses.
Jim McColl isn’t a Fergus McCann figure that the klan has been secretly praying for.
He won’t put his own millions into Sevco because he is too smart to do such a thing.
So there you have it dear reader and that is a rather different tale from the one that you were being regaled with recently.
Jim McColl isn’t a billionaire by any reasonable definition of the word and he isn’t going to squander the wealth he does have on a football operation that has been loss making for decades.
The role of journalism is to report and to bear witness.
In doing so that addresses the democratic deficit in any society.
George Orwell said that “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
However it would appear that the objective of much of the mainstream media in Glasgow is to keep hope alive in their main demographic.
If the klan believes that tomorrow will be better then there is a likelihood that they will buy a newspaper to find out the finer details.
The reality is much bleaker and the choices for Sevco are either austerity or insolvency.
The story broken by CQN recently about the possibility of a sale leaseback deal staves off the immediate threat of administration, but puts the new club into a form of indentured serfdom to the company that owns the stadium and the car park.
This would avert the immediate threat of insolvency, but it would make Sevco tenants in the stadium and consign them to a hand to mouth existence in perpetuity.
The best that Mr McColl can be for the Sevco brand is as an unpaid consultant.
Oops, did I say ‘consultant’?
Sorry, my bad.
However, as he has said himself, this shrewd businessman will not put his own money down the black hole that is Ibrox.
Edmiston drive appears is a financial Bermuda triangle for financial common sense.
The helpless superstitious natives tremble at the possibility of another fiscal eruption or a catastrophic debt tsunami.
They foolishly believe in benefactors and they pray that a miracle will happen and a Sugar Deity will magically appear and raise Rangers from the dead.
However, there is no evidence that Jim McColl has the means to be their salvation.
Moreover there isn’t anything in his impressive business history that suggests that even if he was a real billionaire and not a fantasy one as beloved of the Fitba Fourth Estate that he would be disposed to throwing his cash down the Ibrox mineshaft.
If the EGM goes Jim McColl’s way then he will usher in an era of austerity to FC Ibrox that will make Donald Muir’s tenure seem positively benevolent.