Go Newco! Americans unveil plans for Rangers as bidding deadline approaches

The secretive American consortium bidding for control of Rangers finally broke their silence — just as the administrators damned the rival Blue Knights group for getting their sums wrong.

And Chicago-based Club 9 Sports, described by Duff & Phelps as promising ‘a very attractive level of investment’ in the SPL giants, appeared to confirm that they’re planning a ‘newco’ solution for Rangers — incurring massive footballing penalties in the process.

Club 9, acting on behalf of a wider American group, and Paul Murray’s Blue Knights consortium are believed to be leading the race as administrators prepare to receive up to five best and final offers by Wednesday night’s deadline.

Saved? Rangers will hope to keep hold of their key assets after the sale

Saved? Rangers will hope to keep hold of their key assets after the sale


Having failed to utter a single public word about their involvement, they attempted to calm fears — but suggested a path to safety guaranteed to result in Rangers being banned from Europe for three seasons and requiring a vote on re-admission to the SPL.

In the statement, Club 9 said: ‘We understand that it has been strongly rumoured that our group planned to “liquidate” the club. It should be made clear that any party that attempts to acquire the club, eliminate the debts, affect a turnaround, invest monies and put the club back on solid ground is in fact “saving” the club from liquidation and preserving its past and its future. 

‘In an asset purchase, all of the good and valuable assets (records, marks, names, trophies, players, staff, history) are preserved and separated from the bad and harmful liabilities (tax bills, bad contracts, creditors), which have put the club into administration and which act to force the entirety into liquidation.  

‘By putting all of the assets into a different corporate structure, the assets are, in fact, rescued from liquidation. Such a transaction would be very similar to the one that occurred at Leeds United in 2007, which simultaneously rescued that club, maintained its proud history and allowed the club to shed its debt burden so that it could have the opportunity for future success.’

The Americans also said they wouldn’t be in control of the club, adding: ‘We can confirm that representatives of Club 9 Sports have been involved with investigating, analyzing and considering a potential purchase of Rangers FC, plc on behalf of a group of interested parties from the US and UK. 

Plan: Paul Murray (right) claims he has struck a crucial deal with Ticketus

Plan: Paul Murray (right) claims he has struck a crucial deal with Ticketus

‘However, at no time has Club 9 Sports itself offered a bid to acquire the club. Our role has been as a member of a proposed consortium. We can also confirm that we have not met with, spoken to or otherwise been associated with Craig Whyte in any way.  

‘Furthermore, Club 9 Sports will not be bidding for control of Rangers FC, plc.’

Revealing that they were in talks with the SFA, SPL and UEFA over the consequences of the club being shut down and reborn as a new sporting entity, Duff & Phelps also dropped the clearest hint yet that Club 9’s consortium may emerge as preferred bidders. 

A Singapore-based consortium are also confirmed potential buyers and Sales Sharks owner Brian Kennedy is expected to re-enter the contest.
Duff & Phelps representative David Whitehouse took issue with Murray’s assertion that, because his bid includes bringing potential £30million creditors Ticketus on board, offering even half as much as his nearest rival would make the Blue Knights the best bet.

‘No, his economics aren’t right, his arithmetic isn’t right,’ said Whitehouse, adding: ‘But his logic, which has some merit to it, is that if Ticketus’ bid is accepted, they no longer rank as a creditor. There is logic to suggest that, if Ticketus fall away as a creditor, the value of Mr Murray’s bid is higher.

‘But we have to quantify what we believe Ticketus would be entitled to claim in any event, if they were deemed not to be a creditor. We will need to weigh that up against the commerciality of their bid.

‘In terms of the Blue Knights, they are a serious bid who have got to this stage. But they’re not the highest bid. Whether they will be the highest tomorrow, I don’t know.’

Considering his options: Brian Kennedy could re-enter the bidding for Rangers

Considering his options: Brian Kennedy could re-enter the bidding for Rangers

Addressing concerns over Club 9, Whitehouse admitted: ‘They have raised the issue (of liquidation). They are definitely concerned by what they describe as the toxicity of the old business. They have raised that and they’ve also raised the issue of perhaps running a CVA in parallel, to give the best of both worlds.

‘We’ll see what they come up with tomorrow but they have significant resources behind it.

‘I wouldn’t have any concerns about selling the club to them.   What I would say is that their bid, if it is to go ahead, does provide a very attractive level of investment in the business moving forward – aside from dealing with the legacy.

‘Liquidation is a tremendously emotive issue, especially for the supporter groups.

‘It does have football consequences. And that can only happen with SFA, SPL and UEFA approval, as well. 

‘A dialogue has been started with the SFA, SPL and UEFA — and a confidentiality agreement has been signed between them, so I can’t go into the detail of it.

‘But, if we got into a situation where a purchaser was only prepared to proceed with a Newco, there is a recognition that a discussion needs to be had about how that works.’

The Singapore-based consortium are also described as serious players with proven wealth, while Kennedy — who pulled out of the running last week – is expected to return with an improved offer, although Whitehouse warned: ‘Unless Brian Kennedy moves his position radically from where it has been, he wouldn’t be competitive.  He has to move it materially.’

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