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Sarver insists he's acting alone in Rangers takeover


The Ibrox Stadium, in Glasgow, home of Rangers FC

The Ibrox Stadium, in Glasgow, home of Rangers FC

The Ibrox Stadium, in Glasgow, home of Rangers FC

Robert Sarver insists his Rangers takeover deal has nothing to do with Mike Ashley or Sandy Easdale.

The US financier - who has lodged an increased £20million bid with the Ibrox board - also shut down internet rumours claiming he has had dealings with former owner Craig Whyte or ex-chief executive Charles Green.

A spokesman for the owner of NBA side the Phoenix Suns said: "There appears to be some speculation in online fans' forums, prompting questions from the media asking if Mr Sarver is working in conjunction with other figures associated with Ibrox. Let me assure you he is not.

"To be very clear, Mr Sarver has never met or spoken to Mike Ashley, Sandy Easdale or James Easdale. And for the complete avoidance of doubt, he has never met or spoken to Charles Green or Craig Whyte.

"He is not working with, acting for, or alongside any of these individuals.

"Mr Sarver is acting on his own behalf, although he has repeatedly said that if he succeeds in acquiring a majority stake in Rangers he would like to work with others who clearly have the best long-term interests of Rangers at heart."

Sarver's statement came after the Rangers board announced it will consult with major shareholders before deciding if it will accept his new bid for power.

The 53-year-old has increased the £18million offer he made on Tuesday and also offered a £6.5million emergency loan to help keep the crisis-hit club afloat in the meantime.

The Ibrox board rejected his first proposal despite announcing it was dangerously short on cash.

Sarver says he is willing to provide cash to pay off loans taken out from Newcastle owner Ashley and football board chairman Sandy Easdale in recent weeks, although the club did confirm they had settled the £500,000 fee from Easdale after receiving the first instalment of Brentford's £850,000 purchase of midfielder Lewis Macleod.

He also hinted he would be willing to continue working with former oldco director Dave King and the Three Bears - wealthy fans Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor - who have both bought significant stakes in the past week.

In a statement given to the Stock Exchange at 7am on Thursday, Sarver said: "This revised proposal hopefully helps the board deal with its short-term cashflow crunch and also addresses my desire to see the club on a solid long-term financial footing.

"It would also enable Rangers to repay the loans from Mike Ashley and Sandy Easdale, and free it of debt.

"I know, of course, that there are various groups of prominent fans who have been working hard for a long time to bring change to the club and they can rest assured that, if my proposal is accepted, I am committed to building a strong partnership with fans and key stakeholders to do what is best for the club.

"I look forward to receiving the response of the Rangers board."

Sarver wants to buy a majority shareholding in the club, which needs fresh funds by the end of the month if it is to survive, by way of new shares and will then make a bid to buy out the remaining shareholders at 20p a share.

The CEO of the Western Alliance Bancorporation has already provided proof of funds to the club. However, it still remains unlikely that he will be able to get the support needed to have his bid accepted.

The Rangers board voted down its own resolution nine at the last month's AGM, which would have allowed it to issue fresh shares to new investors without first offering them to existing stakeholders.

Any move to issue fresh equity, therefore, requires 75 per cent shareholder approval, but, with King and the Three Bears now in control of around 34 per cent and determined to protect the club for the fans, that may prove too great a hurdle.

The Ashley factor could also remain decisive with the Newcastle chief positioned strongly at Ibrox after placing his associates Derek Llambias and Barry Leach into key positions on the board.

Rangers have yet to repay the £3million loan the Sports Direct tycoon gave the club last year while he has also tightened his grip on the club's retail division.

However, Sarver insists he will provide a steady stream of cash to the club if his bid is successful.

He added: "If the board agrees to my proposal, I would provide a total of £16.4million to £20million to be invested in the club as the board determines - £6.5million immediately and the remainder following a share issue, taking the major step necessary to restore financial stability to the club.

"After everything they have been through in recent years, I understand some are rightly cautious about a guy they've never heard of wanting to get involved in their club.

"But hopefully I can combine my financial resources and knowledge of professional sport with strong local leaders and top-notch management to bring Rangers back to elite level."

Meanwhile, The Rangers Supporters Trust has announced it has purchased a further 100,000 shares in the club - giving it a stake of just over 1 per cent.