Rangers takeover: Administrators await renewed Blue Knights offer
RANGERS administrators Duff & Phelps were last night still waiting to hear officially if the Blue Knights consortium were going to return to the table with an improved offer to rival that of American tycoon Bill Miller.
But the group, headed by former Ibrox director Paul Murray, are believed to have spent the weekend preparing a new offer to take control of the stricken club.
The Blue Knights’ re-entry into the process would represent an about-turn by the consortium, who withdrew their interest last week, leaving Miller as the sole bidder.
As the only other candidate, Singaporean businessman Bill Ng, had also stepped back, the administrators had indicated that they would have had no option other than to proceed with Miller.
News that the Blue Knights were reviving their attempt to win control of Rangers drew a favourable reaction from joint administrator Paul Clark, of Duff & Phelps. He said at the weekend: “I very much welcome it. We’ve never ruled the Blue Knights out. It was them, of course, that stepped back from the position earlier in the week.
“We’d had an agreement with them in relation to a financial commitment on exclusivity terms and there was a decision, in fact, by Ticketus as opposed to the Blue Knights consortium, to withdraw that financial commitment.
“That was a real setback at the time, because had it not have been for that withdrawal of financial commitment, we were about ready to name them as the preferred bidder. Another week’s gone by, which is unfortunate, but I’m delighted to have Paul and the guys back in the frame.”
From the outset, Murray has stated a preference for Rangers to avoid liquidation via a company voluntary arrangement, with the club’s total debts potentially more than £134 million.
“I’ve made it clear that we would still require, as part of them re-joining the bidding position, that they would need to provide a financial commitment in relation to an exclusivity fee,” Clark added. “We think it’s essential for that commitment to be shown.
“What we don’t want is to have one preferred bidder chosen and them have no commitment to move forward from a monetary viewpoint and more particularly in a position where they can actually either chip away on the price or change fundamental terms.
“That was the real purpose of it and it remains the purpose of it. I think that that’s well known by Paul and his team.
“It would become available for the creditors at a later date so it’s simply a deduction from a later price. Effectively, it’s a part-payment or a payment up front for the price that they pay eventually.”
As of last night, the Blue Knights had still not submitted a revised offer to the administrators but their re-entry into the process could come today and it would be welcomed by those Rangers fans who have labelled Miller’s proposal as “unacceptable”. The American’s £11.2m bid includes a plan to create a new “incubator” company while Duff & Phelps take the club out of administration, but the Rangers Supporters Trust have branded the scheme as “liquidation by the back door”.
A statement released by the group read: “The Miller bid amounts to nothing other than liquidation by the backdoor and is completely unacceptable to the vast majority of Rangers supporters... The Blue Knights proposal is the only viable way forward that will command widespread support across the supporters.”
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