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Fan Whyte out to buy Rangers

Rangers' debt will be wiped out and significant funds made available for new players if Scottish tycoon Craig Whyte succeeds with his bid to buy the club.

It is understood that a sum of around £25million 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 if a deal is concluded by then.

The club's debt, which stood at £27.1million on June 30, would be paid off and an additional £5.5million would be offered to shareholders.

Rangers fan Whyte, who made his money as a venture capitalist and is now based in London, confirmed yesterday he is considering making an offer to buy the Glasgow giants and is in talks with Murray International Holdings regarding a proposed takeover.

Talks are at an early stage and a formal offer for the Scottish champions has yet to be made but a deal could be concluded by Christmas.

It is believed Whyte would take over 75% of owner Sir David Murray's shareholding, with London-based property developer Andrew Ellis becoming a 25% partner.

Ellis — who has been friends with Whyte for several years — was previously involved in a bid to buy the club earlier this year.

A consortium fronted by Ellis announced to the Stock Exchange back in June that they were in “advanced negotiations” to buy a controlling interest in Rangers.

But the deal fell through and Murray announced he was no longer actively marketing his controlling interest in the club just weeks later.

Addressing shareholders at last month's AGM, chairman Alastair Johnston said Rangers were still open to serious offers.

A statement released to the Stock Exchange read: “Craig Whyte notes the articles in today's press regarding discussions between him and Murray International Holdings Limited with a view to him acquiring MIH's majority shareholding in Rangers Football Club Plc.

“Mr Whyte confirms that he is considering making an offer for RFC and is in talks with MIH but that these are at an early stage and there can be no certainty that an offer will ultimately be made.

“Mr Whyte has not yet approached the board of RFC.”

Rangers responded with a statement of their own, which read: “The board notes the announcement released this morning on behalf of Craig Whyte.

“The board confirms that it has been advised by Murray International Holdings Limited that it is in early discussions with Craig Whyte regarding the acquisition of MIH's majority shareholding in Rangers Football Club plc.”

News of the potential takeover was welcomed by Rangers fans, with The Rangers Supporters Trust hailing news of Whyte's involvement as “extremely positive”.

Trust board member Kenny Park said: “This appears to be a very positive development for the club and Rangers fans will welcome any initiative that stabilises the club's finances.”

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