American businessman set for Rangers takeover
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) -An American businessman is on the verge of buying Rangers after administrators running the financially stricken Scottish club recommended his bid on Thursday.
Bill Miller, the chairman of a Tennessee-based towing and recovery equipment company, was named as the preferred bidder for Scotland's most successful club on Thursday after weeks of negotiations with its administrators.
The takeover is reportedly worth 11.2 million pounds ($18.1 million) and should prevent the 140-year-old club, which has won a record 54 domestic league titles, from being liquidated.
"We believe that the structure of the bid from Mr. Miller provides not only the most deliverable outcome but preserves the history of the club,'' Rangers' joint administrator Paul Clark said. "Rangers Football Club will continue as the football club it has been for 140 years.''
Clark hopes the sale of the club will be completed "by the end of the current season,'' which finishes on the weekend of May 12-13.
Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are among 10 English Premier League clubs under foreign ownership but neither Rangers nor Celtic - the biggest teams in Scotland - have ever been bought by overseas owners.
Rangers has been under the supervision of administrators since February when it entered bankruptcy protection following a long-running dispute with the tax authorities. Its already slender hopes of retaining the Scottish Premier League title were ended by a subsequent 10-point deduction.
Miller was competing with a supporter-backed consortium called the "Blue Knights.'' Singaporean businessman Bill Ng also made an offer but pulled out last month.
"His approach has been consistent throughout the process and on two occasions he has stepped back from the fray to enable other parties to submit an unconditional bid,'' Clark said of the American tycoon. "Mr. Miller's proposal can provide the opportunity for the club to return to success on and off the field.''
Rangers' future has been at stake after falling into tax debts of 9 million pounds (then $14 million) since the takeover of Craig Whyte last May.
The Ibrox outfit is also awaiting the verdict of a tax tribunal over long-standing contested liabilities of up to 75 million pounds ($119 million).
Rangers was last week placed under a transfer embargo, preventing the club from signing players for the next 12 months unless they are under the age of 18.