An American sports investment company has claimed it is "not a party" in a tow-truck business owner’s attempt to buy crisis-hit Rangers.
Club 9 Sports had previously been involved in a consortium of US and UK business people that had expressed an interest in taking over Rangers previously.
Earlier this month it said it was stepping aside from the bidding process, before Bill Miller emerged with an £11.2m bid to fund a newco version of the Ibrox club, which is expected to be named preferred bidder for Rangers this week.
On Wednesday, Jon Pritchett, operating partner of Club 9, said the branch of Chicago merchant bank Prometheus Capital Partners does not have "any official relationship" with Mr Miller.
He told STV News: "Bill Miller was one of several members of a group of investors with whom we were working in our initial efforts for a US consortium to acquire Rangers. We were involved but were not leading this effort.
"Given the complexities of this transaction, the consortium agreed not to move forward. Bill decided he wanted to move forward on his own as an individual bidder for Rangers. The consortium was happy to step aside and allow Bill to go forward as the sole bidder.
"While we remain friends with Bill, Club 9 Sports does not have any official relationship with him and we are not a party to the Rangers transaction."
Club 9 Sports had previously been involved in two fruitless takeover attempts of Sheffield Wednesday and Tranmere Rovers in recent years.
Mr Miller has pitched his proposal as involving an "incubator company" where the clubs assets would be sold to a newco for £11.2m before that money is used to achieve a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with Rangers Football Club plc, incorporated in 1899, and the firms are later merged.
He admitted that a CVA is more likely to be blocked by Ticketus, the London ticketing agency that struck a £25.3m deal with owner Craig Whyte for 100,000 season tickets until 2015, as he will not honour that deal meaning it would become a creditor owed around £27m, according to administrators Duff and Phelps. His offer would therefore involve liquidating the original Rangers after selling all of its assets to a newco.
The 65-year-old said in a statement released last month that his offer depended on the Ibrox club not being hit with further sanctions from the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football Association (SFA). A judicial panel appointed by the SFA recently hit the club with a £160,000 fine and a 12-month player registration embargo for several rule breaches including bringing the game into disrepute.
Mr Miller owns Miller Industries, which described itself as a "the world’s largest manufacturer of vehicle towing and recovery equipment". Its UK arm is Boniface Engineering Limited and according to the latest accounts for Tennessee-based Miller Industries, it had a net income of $23m (around £14m) and the chairman of the board took home an annual base salary of $319,727 (around £197,399) with the company.
The American was previously appointed chief executive of Team Racing Auto Circuit, a stock car racing syndicate created in 2001, which Mr Miller hailed as "the most innovative concept ever introduced to motor sports."
By 2004, the project aimed at rivalling Nascar had collapsed after failure to sell sponsorship for any of the participants, and Mr Miller, along with Mr Prutchett of Club 9 Sports who was also involved in the ill-fated venture, were targeted in a $50m lawsuit by former shareholders. The case was eventually settled out of court.
The other bidder vying to take over Rangers is the Blue Knights consortium, led by ex-Ibrox director Paul Murray and involving Sale Sharks Rugby Club owner Brian Kennedy. They were told by Duff and Phelps to up their initial bid over the weekend after putting forward around £5m in an attempt to fund a CVA for the club, which owes up to £134m.
Both bids also include, in addition to the funding put forward, the writing off of £7m owed in debentures to thousands of fans who bought bonds in the club to fund the construction of the club deck at Ibrox.
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