US businessman withdraws Rangers bid

The saga over ailing Scottish giants Rangers took a fresh twist on Tuesday after the US businessman tipped to take over the club withdrew his bid, it was confirmed.

Tow-truck tycoon Bill Miller was last week named as the preferred bidder by the club's administrators Duff and Phelps after a protracted bidding process that had seen several rivals fall by the wayside.

However, Miller confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that he had withdrawn his bid after carrying out due diligence checks that revealed preliminary analysis of the club's condition was "more optimistic than reality".

He also said that anti-American sentiment had influenced his decision to exit the takeover battle.

"Having no intention of negatively affecting the potential outcome of the club's future and after hearing the message from Rangers supporters and fans loud and clear ("Yank go home!"), I notified the administrators today that I have withdrawn my bid for Rangers and will not be moving forward," Miller said.

"I am deeply disappointed as I had considered the opportunity to bid for one of the most historic football clubs in the world an honor and a privilege.

"I wish Rangers fans, supporters and employees my very best. I hope all your dreams and wishes come true. You certainly deserve it."

Miller had last month outlined plans for an £11.2 million ($18.1m) bid for Rangers that would have involved setting up an 'incubator' company while Duff and Phelps continued to steer the club out of administration.

However, his decision to withdraw from the race to take charge of the 140-year-old Scottish football institution paves the way for the revival of what Duff and Phelps said were "three other bids".

Duff and Phelps' David Whitehouse said in a statement on Tuesday: "We can confirm that Mr Bill Miller has decided not to complete his purchase of Rangers Football Club.

"Since Mr Miller was announced as preferred bidder on Thursday of last week, it is regrettable that more progress could not be made to further the sale of the club.

"We have been informed by his advisors that there were a number of issues with which he felt uncomfortable including legacy contracts, the limitation of potential revenue streams and the expectation of required investment."

Whitehouse added: "Given the fact that Mr Miller did not enter into an exclusivity agreement, we informed all other known potential bidders at the time the door was not closed.

"As a consequence of Mr Miller's bid being accepted, three other bidders have come forward to express their interest in buying the club and these offers are being evaluated with the utmost urgency.

"There is every opportunity for these bidders to now complete the purchase of the club prior to the end of the season."

Among those is a joint offer from the Blue Knights consortium fronted by former Rangers director Paul Murray and Brian Kennedy, owner of English rugby's Sale Sharks.

Administrators were called in to Rangers on February 14 after British tax authorities went to court to seek payment of an unpaid bill that had built up since current owner Craig Whyte took charge at Ibrox in May last year.

Entering administration meant Rangers were docked 10 points -- a move that effectively handed this season's Scottish Premier League title to arch Glasgow rivals Celtic, who were recently crowned champions.

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