Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Walter Smith withdraws interest in Rangers

Walter Smith won 10 league titles as Rangers manager

A consortium led by former Rangers manager Walter Smith have withdrawn their bid to buy the club from Charles Green.

Smith said an offer of £6million to the Green consortium through Zeus Capital had been rejected, and confirmed his group have now pulled out of attempts to own the newco club in order to allow the new owners to proceed in their own way.

A statement from Smith read: "Our offer has been rejected and they have made a counter-offer inviting us to join their consortium.

"However, the current business plan is not in accord with our understanding of the present circumstances of the Club and the way forward, but we would prefer to leave them to proceed in their own way and we wish them good luck in their endeavours."

The Smith-led consortium revealed a dramatic 11th hour bid for Rangers on Thursday, as failure to secure a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) consigned the club to liquidation.

Green and his investors subsequently completed the purchase of the business and assets of Rangers as a newco for £5.5million and were urged to consider a quick sale by the veteran boss.

However, Smith - who stressed their initial offer to administrators Duff and Phelps was made before Green's acquisition was completed - is now prepared to step aside following "verbal assurances" provided by the new regime.

A statement from the two-times Rangers manager read: "I would like to clarify the background to the offer of £6million for the assets of the club which I announced on Thursday 14th June 2012.

"The offer was made to the administrators before the Charles Green consortium had concluded their transaction to acquire the assets at £5.5million from the administrators.

"We felt it necessary to have a fall-back position to secure the club's future.

"We have since made the same offer of £6million to the Green consortium through Zeus Capital.

"Our offer has been rejected and they have made a counter-offer inviting us to join their consortium.

"However, the current business plan is not in accord with our understanding of the present circumstances of the club and the way forward, but we would prefer to leave them to proceed in their own way and we wish them good luck in their endeavours.

"Members of our consortium had met with Charles Green and Zeus Capital prior to the CVA meeting and it had been agreed that we would be provided with significant information which would give us comfort as to the identity of the consortium members, their strategy and their funding capacity.

"This information had not been forthcoming by the date of our offer.

"We are therefore withdrawing completely from the process to enable Charles Green and his consortium to move forward.

"We very much hope the verbal assurances they provided to us - and the public statements made - are adhered to and that the club will therefore be financed and managed with appropriate governance and can go forward in a sustainable manner.

"We wish the new Rangers Football Club every good fortune."

Walter Smith statement in full

I would like to clarify the background to the offer of £6million for the assets of the club which I announced on Thursday, June 14 2012.

The offer was made to the administrators before the Charles Green consortium had concluded their transaction to acquire the assets at £5.5m from the administrators.

We felt it necessary to have a fall-back position to secure the club's future. We have since made the same offer of £6m to the Green consortium through Zeus Capital.

Our offer has been rejected and they have made a counter-offer inviting us to join their consortium.

However, the current business plan is not in accord with our understanding of the present circumstances of the club and the way forward, but we would prefer to leave them to proceed in their own way and we wish them good luck in their endeavours.

Members of our consortium had met with Charles Green and Zeus Capital prior to the CVA meeting and it had been agreed that we would be provided with significant information which would give us comfort as to the identity of the consortium members, their strategy and their funding capacity.

This information had not been forthcoming by the date of our offer.

We are therefore withdrawing completely from the process to enable Charles Green and his consortium to move forward.

We very much hope the verbal assurances they provided to us - and the public statements made - are adhered to and that the club will therefore be financed and managed with appropriate governance and can go forward in a sustainable manner.

We wish the new Rangers Football Club every good fortune.

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