The saga over ailing Scottish soccer 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 Corp after a protracted bidding process, which 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However, Miller confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that he had withdrawn his bid after carrying out due diligence checks, which revealed preliminary analysis of the club’s condition was “more optimistic than reality.”
He also said that anti-US 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Rangers supporters and fans loud and clear (‘Yank go home!’), I notified the administrators today [Tuesday] that I have withdrawn my bid for Rangers and will not be moving forward,” Miller said.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,” Miller’s statement said. “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 (US$18.1 million) bid for Rangers, which would involve setting up an “incubator” company, while Duff and Phelps continued to steer the club out of administration.
Administrators were called in to Rangers on Feb. 14 after British tax authorities went to court to seek payment of an unpaid bill that had built up since 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, recently crowned champions.