Rangers administrators name American businessman Bill Miller as preferred bidder

American businessman Bill Miller has been given preferred bidder status by Rangers administrators with the tow-truck tycoon now having a fortnight to do due diligence on the Ibrox club.

The administrators of Rangers Football Club have confirmed that American businessman Bill Miller has been named as preferred bidder for the club. Administrators for the crisis-hit club informed non-playing staff of the latest development at Ibrox on Thursday morning. Miller now has a two-week period of exclusivity in which both sides are expected to carry out due diligence.

The Blue Knights consortium led by ex-Rangers director Paul Murray and backed by Sale Sharks rugby club owner Brian Kennedy was the only other offer on the table for the club.

According to Miller, the owner Miller Industries, his bid involves moving the club’s assets - including Ibrox, Murray Park, the playing squad and the football memberships - into an ‘incubator’ company on a temporary basis. The Tennessee based tow-truck tycoon claims the "newco switch" will not see the original company liquidated. Instead, a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) will be proposed and, if passed, will see the old business reunited with the new company.

However, Duff and Phelps didn’t explain what would happen if a CVA was not agreed. Miller previously stated that London ticketing agency Ticketus, which would be owed around £27m should it become a creditor, would be an obstacle to this process, while Rangers could have debts totalling £134m depending on the outcome of an unpaid tax tribunal. Uncertainty also surrounds the role of current owner Craig Whyte who controls over 85% of the club's shares.  

Paul Clark, of Duff and Phelps, told staff at a meeting at Ibrox: "We would like to thank all parties for their efforts in seeking to submit bids which preserve the long history and success of the Club.

"We are delighted to announce that today we have received an unconditional bid for the business and assets of Rangers Football Club plc from Mr Bill Miller which has been accepted in principle and he is now the preferred bidder. Mr Miller now proposes to complete his transaction by the end of the season."

A statement from Miller read: "It is a great honour and privilege to have the opportunity to buy Rangers Football Club. I respect the club as one of the world's great sporting institutions and one of the UK's most venerable football clubs. What Rangers, which includes supporters, players, staff and anyone with the club at heart, have been put through, particularly in recent months, is a travesty and from what I can see they have been badly let down by a number of individuals. "This will not happen on my look should I become the custodian of this great club. Under my stewardship, Rangers will be managed with fiscal discipline such that the club not only conforms to UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations but also such that Rangers will never have to suffer this kind of anguish again. From now on, Rangers will live within its means - no excuses. I have fought hard to try to offer Rangers a fresh start and I hope all Rangers fans will continue to rally round the club as we endeavour to leave behind this distressing chapter in the club's history. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we have worked hard to ensure that there is no loss of history, no loss of tradition and no liquidation of Rangers Football Club. I wouldn't have it any other way."

Meanwhile, both the Scottish Football Association and the Scottish Premier League have issued statements singnalling their intent to hold further discussions with Mr Miller.

The SFA said: “We have received formal notification from the Rangers FC administrators, Duff and Phelps, confirming that preferred bidder status has been granted to Bill Miller.It is our intention to enter into detailed discussions with Mr Miller to clarify his position and to establish his strategy to ensure a sustainable future for the club. We will make further comment when that process has been completed.”

The SPL added: "The Scottish Premier League notes that preferred bidder status has been granted to Bill Miller. The SPL will now continue discussions with Mr Miller and his team. No further comment will be made at this time."