Wednesday 21 February 2018

Whyte meets Rangers chairman as takeover moves closer

Scottish tycoon Craig Whyte has moved a step closer to buying Rangers after reaching an agreement in principle with Sir David Murray, Press Association Sport understands.

The news comes as the 39-year-old businessman met with Rangers chairman Alastair Johnston today as he continues to push ahead with plans to buy the club.

The meeting took place in Glasgow this morning and, although having no real significance in terms of the actual takeover, it suggests Whyte remains on track to become the next owner of the Glasgow giants.

It is believed the talks took place at the request of current owner Murray, who was keen for the two men to meet for the first time.

Whyte, who made his money as a venture capitalist and is now based in London, confirmed to the Stock Exchange last month that he was considering making an offer for Rangers and was in talks with Murray International Holdings.

The complex and lengthy due diligence process remains ongoing but Murray and Whyte have met on several occasions and remain in regular contact by telephone.

Murray has stated in the past that he would only sell Rangers to someone he could trust to take the club forward.

Press Association Sport understands an agreement in principle is in place after Whyte convinced the majority shareholder that not only does he have the finances to back up his bid, he is also the right person to take over Rangers.

Whyte remains bound by stock market rules which prevent him from commenting on the proposed takeover but it is believed he is keen for everything to be completed as soon as possible, with a buy-out still on course to be done by Christmas or early in the new year.

Lifelong Rangers fan Whyte would take over 75pc of Murray's shareholding, with London-based property developer Andrew Ellis becoming a 25pc partner.

Ellis was previously involved in a failed bid to buy the club earlier this year.

It is understood the club's debt will be wiped out and significant funds made available for new players if Whyte succeeds with his buy-out.

A sum of around £25m (€30m) could be made available over five years for investment in team development, although boss Walter Smith is unlikely to be handed a massive transfer kitty in January even if a deal is concluded by then.

The club's debt, which stood at £27.1m (€31.9m) on June 30, would be paid off and an additional £5.5m (€6.5m) would be offered to shareholders.

Press Association

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