Hopes grow for end to Rangers crisis as three bidders asked for best and final offers
17:56 GMT, 30 March 2012
Rangers' administrators have asked three bidders to submit 'best and final offers' for the club by Wednesday, April 4.
Five parties notified Duff and Phelps of their interest in a takeover of the Scottish champions, although Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy has since dropped out of the running after being told his bid was too low.
The administrators indicated they have yet to identify a preferred bidder from the short-list at this stage in the process.
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The three parties who remain in contention are former Ibrox director Paul Murray`s Blue Knights consortium, United States-based Club 9 Sports and a Singapore-based consortium.
David Whitehouse, joint administrator, said: 'It would be inappropriate for us to comment on the merits of individual bids but, in general, several parties have pursued their declared interest in the club and five bids submitted have been subject to greater scrutiny.
'We fully understand the desire of supporters to see the bidding process concluded as soon as possible and have asked three bidders to submit best and final offers by Wednesday April 4.
'It is likely that a successful bidder will require a period of exclusivity to commit to final due diligence thereafter.
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'Bids have inevitably been the subject of widespread comment and speculation but at this stage it would be unwise to perceive any particular party to be a preferred bidder, and the bidding process remains open for all parties until April 4.'
Rangers' administrators and Ticketus both welcomed a ruling on the status of their contract last week following a court case that revealed the Ibrox club received two payments totalling more than 30million during Craig Whyte's stewardship.
A judge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh would not give directions on the administrators' request to tear up the contract because Duff and Phelps held back information on bids so as not to undermine the process.
Administrators welcomed indications they would have the right to refuse to honour the deal if it was in the best interest of creditors.
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The judge's written ruling clarified the exact nature of the deals between Ticketus and Rangers chairman Whyte.
In his statement, Whitehouse added: 'The direction from Lord Hodge in the Court of Session in Edinburgh last Friday clarified important issues relating to the status of the arrangement between Ticketus and Rangers Football Club and our powers as administrators in relation to contractual rights.
'This has allowed the bidding process for the club to move away from the previous uncertainty the issue caused.
'The direction has also enabled us to have intensive and constructive discussions throughout this week to confirm the levels of interest and the structure of any offers.'