Further twist in Rangers takeover

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The Independent Football

The Rangers takeover saga took a major twist today when chairman Alastair Johnston revealed that an Ibrox director had proposed an alternative funding plan to Craig Whyte's bid.

Johnston revealed concerns over the "relatively modest amount of money" available to immediately invest directly in the club from Whyte, who had agreed a deal with majority shareholder Sir David Murray and main creditor Lloyds Banking Group.

The alternative plan would instead see a "fresh issue of new capital to raise £25million to be invested directly into the club".

Whyte had been hoping to push through the deal on Monday after first announcing his intentions to the stock exchange in November.

Johnston admitted earlier this month that the Rangers board had not played a central role in the negotiations but, as part of an "independent sub-committee" set up to review the deal, he delayed the conclusion of the deal.

In a statement, Johnston insisted the board had legal responsibilities to ensure the transaction served the best interests of the 26,400 minority shareholders.

And he cast doubt on the ability of Motherwell-born venture capitalist Whyte to immediately transform the fortunes of the club, whose debt stood at £27million in June.

Johnston said: "Based on the documents we have only been able to review within the last week, we are disappointed that they ultimately did not reflect the investment in the club that we were led to believe for the last few months would be a commitment in the purchase agreement.

"Given the requirement to repay the bank in full under the proposed transaction, there appears to be only a relatively modest amount of money available that would positively impact the club's operations, especially as it relates to an urgent requirement to replenish and upgrade the playing squad."

Johnston added: "The board has had an approach from one of its directors who wishes the board to consider an alternative funding option.

"This would involve a fresh issue of new capital to raise £25million to be invested directly into the club.

"The board believes that it has a responsibility to examine this proposal whilst continuing its review of the Craig Whyte transaction.

"After six months of limited engagement in the process, the board believes that is not in the best interests of its stakeholders for it to be pressed into an unrealistic timescale."

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