Rangers receive offer from Blue Knights
Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy and the Blue Knights have joined forces to submit a "substantial" written offer to purchase Rangers.
The bid was submitted to the club's administrators Duff and Phelps at 3pm this afternoon.
The offer is subject to a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) being agreed with creditors and the acquisition of current owner Craig Whyte's shares.
The news was confirmed in a joint statement from Kennedy and former Ibrox director Paul Murray, who fronts the Blue Knights consortium.
The statement read: "We are pleased to announce that the Blue Knights, led by Paul Murray and Brian Kennedy, have joined forces and at 3pm today have submitted a written offer to the lawyers of the administrators to purchase Rangers Football Club.
"This offer we consider to be substantial and is conditional on a CVA being approved by the creditors, and Mr Whyte's shares being acquired.
"We hope this is accepted so that we may proceed with due diligence forthwith and make a start to the task of rebuilding Rangers Football Club of 1872."
The Blue Knights were offered the chance to assume preferred bidders' status two weeks ago, but potential partners Ticketus would not pay the £500,000 exclusivity fee and they stepped back from the process to allow the investment firm to complete a deal with Bill Ng.
That failed to materialise and Ticketus today withdrew from the Blue Knights consortium but the partnership with Kennedy, who had an improved verbal offer rejected last week, is a new development despite previous co-operation.
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 London-based firm could also be pivotal in the future of Whyte's 85% shareholding. Whyte gave personal guarantees on capital provided by Ticketus, which helped him complete his £1 takeover by paying off the club's bank debt.
Ticketus could pursue Whyte for any shortfall in the £26.7million they are owed for future season ticket sales and that could be used as leverage to take his shares, if it provides a return to their investors.
Ticketus had been in talks over helping finance the Blue Knights' bid in return for a guaranteed return of around £10million, but they confirmed this morning they were pulling out as they could not justify their involvement to their investors.
The statement read: "Our willingness to work with all interested bidders, and to try and be part of a solution for the club, was undertaken with the objective to agree terms that would satisfy both our investors' needs as well as being in the interests of the club, its fans and its creditors.
"Regrettably over the course of this week it became impossible to reconcile these interests with the proposals put forward by the Blue Knights as the terms of a deal became clearer."
Ticketus pointed to complexities caused by "delays to the administration process", Scottish Football Association sanctions and Scottish Premier League financial fair play proposals.
The Blue Kights' rival, American Bill Miller, has proposed buying the club's assets and transferring to a new company, although his formal offer has not materialised as it is dependent on the lack of football sanctions.
Manager Ally McCoist, speaking earlier today, was keen to retain a neutral stance on potential new owners for the club.
He has said on a number of occasions he believes Kennedy and Murray have the best interests of the club at heart and had another telephone conversation with Miller on Monday night after the SFA sanctions against the club were announced.
McCoist said: "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 as well.
"The fact that he and I had a conversation for well over an hour after the decision was made on Monday night would indicate that 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."
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