RANGERS chairman Dave King has won a battle to avoid paying out millions on a court-ordered shares offer.

It has been confirmed that the mandatory offer, which could have cost him as much as £19m, just failed to get enough acceptances from shareholders to become valid.

It means that those who accepted the 20p-a-share offer included former football board chairman Sandy Easdale and his family will keep their shares.

Valid acceptances were received for 18.9m shares, or 19.82% of the club, which would give Mr King's group 47.12%, 3% short of the 50% threshold to make the takeover offer successful.

Read more: 'I want out': Former Rangers chief Sandy Easdale agrees to sell shares in club for £1.3 million

Shareholders had until a deadline of 1pm on Friday to make the offer - and the result of the bid was declared at 7.40pm.

Mr King was obliged to make the bid by the Takeover Panel financial regulator, which ruled he, and the Three Bears group of investors had acted "in concert" to acquire more than 30% of the Ibrox club's shares when they took over the club from a group said to be allied to Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley in 2015.

The offer was finally made last month after a protracted legal battle with Mr King trying to stave off pressure to buy the shares fearing the heavy financial toll it would place on him.

Evening Times:

Under Takeover Code rules Mr King and the Three Bears, made up of Hong Kong-based investment banker George Taylor, Park's Motor Group founder Douglas Park and wealthy fan George Letham, should have made a written offer to buy the shares of other shareholders at the time of the takeover having overtaken a 30% threshold.

Mr King's takeover group, which currently holds a 34% stake, would have had to control over 50% of the club at the end of the court-ordered offer, for it to have been valid.

A statement said: "In light of the acceptances referred to... the acceptance condition has not been satisfied. Accordingly, the offer was not capable of being declared unconditional as to acceptances at 1.00 p.m. on 25 February 2019 and therefore the offer lapsed with immediate effect."

The Herald understands that the result of the bid will not result in any further action from the Takeover Panel, which was satisfied that the shares offer was eventually carried out according to the Code, including the appointment of a cash confirmer, the London-based investment bank and stockbroker, Finncap.

Offer documents show that 11 shareholders including Ally McCoist and fans group Club 1872 who hold 38% of the club shares had already made undertakings not to take up the offer.

It meant investors holding at over 57% of the remaining shares would have had to have accepted Mr King's money for it to succeed.

Read more: 'I want out': Former Rangers chief Sandy Easdale agrees to sell shares in club for £1.3 million

The cost to Mr King, through his South Africa-based Laird Investments (Proprietary) Limited firm, of the offer was slashed to a maximum of £8m as a result of those who had already declared they will not take up the offer.

It is understood that major shareholder Blue Pitch Holdings, which holds 4m shares, had joined the Easdales in intimating an intention to sell.

Evening Times:

Mr King was ordered to make an offer for the remainder of the shares in Rangers International Football Club Ltd by the Takeover Panel financial watchdog after it ruled the South Africa-based businessman had acted “in concert” theThree Bears investors group when they took control of the club.

The 63-year-old businessman, had previously stated that delays with fulfilling the court order were the result of needing government approval to transfer the funds from South Africa to the UK.

Read more: 'I want out': Former Rangers chief Sandy Easdale agrees to sell shares in club for £1.3 million

The offer came after a Court of Session contempt case in front of Lady Wolffe was paused in December after the Rangers chief said he was now “100%” committed to making the multi-million-pound offer.

The King-led takeover group – which included Park's Motor Group founder Douglas Park, Rangers Supporters Trust and Rangers First member George Taylor and Rangers fan George Letham – had always denied that they had acted 'in concert' to purchase shares in Rangers on December 31 2014 and January 2, 2015.