American tycoon Miller rivals Blue Knights by making bid for crisis club Rangers
18:40 GMT, 27 April 2012
Rangers administrators Duff and Phelps have confirmed they have received two formal bids for the club – one from the Blue Knights and one from Bill Miller.
The Blue Knights – fronted by former Ibrox director Paul Murray – have joined forces with Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy and submitted what they described as a 'substantial' written offer to purchase the club this afternoon.
Their bid is subject to a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) being agreed with creditors and the acquisition of current owner Craig Whyte's shares.
Dark clouds over head: Debt-ridden Rangers desperately need to find a buyer
American tycoon Miller has also made his interest in the Glasgow giants official, albeit with conditions relating to sanctions imposed on the club by the football authorities.
David Whitehouse, joint administrator, said: 'We can confirm this afternoon that we are in receipt of two formal bids for control of Rangers Football Club.
'Both bids at this stage remain conditional.
'We are in receipt of a bid from Bill Miller, whose bid is conditional on securing greater comfort and clarity from the football authorities in relation to sanctions against Rangers.
'Clearly, the events of last Monday night when the SFA's judicial panel imposed severe and, in our view, unwarranted penalties on the club had a destabilising effect on the sale process.
'However, since then, Mr Miller's bid team have worked to develop a structure which enables the wishes of creditors to be taken into account whilst ensuring that the club is taken forward well-capitalised and the requirements of the footballing authorities are met.
'Mr Miller hopes a solution to all regulatory issues can be found and his team has been in constructive discussions with all relevant parties this week.
'This afternoon Brian Kennedy and Paul Murray submitted a bid which is conditional on a CVA being approved by creditors and we will seek guidance from prominent creditors.
'It is also conditional on the acquisition of the shares of Craig Whyte in the football club and we have asked for this and other points in the bid to be clarified.
Joining forces: The Blue Knights, led by
Paul Murray (left) have submitted a bid with Sale owner Brian Kennedy
(right) to buy Rangers
'We note the statement today issued by Ticketus and its withdrawal as a potential partner for the Blue Knights. What should be clarified is that neither bid involves liquidation of the football club.
'In terms of quantum, there are significant differences between the two offers in terms of a prospective return to creditors and approach to future funding and these have to be evaluated.
'We will provide a further update as soon as possible.'
Murray claimed Ticketus could be favourable to a CVA but attempts to secure the shares might have to rely on Whyte's goodwill.
The former Rangers director told Sky Sports News: 'I would certainly hope Craig can see this is in the best interests of the club.
'I like to think he would make one last gesture to help Rangers move forward.'
Murray, who was removed from the board by Whyte, parted on good terms with Ticketus. Ticketus are owed 26.7million in season-ticket sales over three years, having provided the club with capital since Whyte took over in May last year, and were originally in talks over securing a 10million return.
'We wanted to go back to the agreement we had originally agreed three weeks ago,' Murray said. 'Ticketus couldn't really offer those terms, I think they were pretty concerned by some of the SPL and SFA announcements. They felt that would make the outlook pretty difficult for the club.
'I wasn't prepared to sign revised terms that weren't in the best interests of the club. We parted amicably. I would like to think they would vote for a CVA and also help in obtaining Craig Whyte's shares.'
Hoping for a resolution: Rangers manager Ally McCoist
On his new partner, who had an improved verbal offer rejected last week, Murray said: 'I have been talking to Brian almost every day for the last three months. We have a very common purpose. I think it adds real muscle to the whole thing.'
Murray had a final message from the administrators: 'This is the best and final bid and I just want some clarity now. Choose one party and move on because time has run out.
'We are ready to go now and we can complete this very, very quickly. And that's what the club needs.'
Ticketus will still have a hugely significant role to play as they are currently the major creditors – before a looming tax tribunal decision – and could block a CVA.
Murray has previously stated his deal with Ticketus made a CVA more likely as it removed them from the equation. The firm could also be pivotal in the future of Whyte's 85 per cent shareholding.
Whyte gave personal guarantees on capital provided by Ticketus and could be pursued for any shortfall. That could be used as leverage to take his shares if Ticketus felt it would provide a return for investors.
When confirming their withdrawal, Ticketus pointed to complexities caused by 'delays to the administration process' and football rulings.
Their statement read: 'Our willingness to be part of a solution for the club was undertaken with the objective to agree terms that would satisfy our investors' needs as well as being in the interests of the club, its fans and its creditors.
'Regrettably it became impossible to reconcile these interests with the proposals put forward by the Blue Knights as the terms of a deal became clearer.'
Miller has proposed buying the club's assets and transferring to a new company, although he initially asked for 'written assurances' from the football authorities that there would be no sanctions next season.
As well as a 160,000 fine and a 12-month transfer embargo from the SFA, which Rangers have appealed, they could face Scottish Premier League sanctions.
SPL clubs meet on Monday to discuss financial fair play proposals which would see a newco club deducted 10 points for two seasons and lose 75 per cent of their league income for three years.
Manager Ally McCoist was keen to retain a neutral stance on potential new owners. He said earlier: 'I have spoken to Bill Miller on numerous occasions and I would definitely have to say he also has the club's best interests at heart.
'The fact he and I had a conversation for well over an hour after the (SFA) decision on Monday night would indicate he is seriously interested.
'I have spoken to Brian Kennedy and Paul Murray on numerous occasions. If either of those gentlemen got control of the club, there would be no problem at all.'