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Murray announces Rangers no longer for sale

Rangers' principal shareholder Sir David Murray
Principal shareholder Sir David Murray stepped down as chairman last August

Rangers' principal shareholder Sir David Murray has announced that the club is no longer for sale.

Last week potential buyer Andrew Ellis and his company, RFC Holdings, informed the Stock Exchange that they were in "advanced negotiations" with Murray.

But a statement on the Rangers website says the club has been unable to find a deal that benefits the club itself, its shareholders and its fans.

The Scottish Premier League champions are about £30m in debt.

Rangers' annual report, issued last November, showed that the deficit had risen sharply from £10m the previous year.

Murray stepped down as chairman in August 2009 and relinquished his place on the board.

His replacement, Alastair Johnston, was tasked with finding a buyer for his predecessor's stake, about 90% of the club's shares.

Johnston, directors John McClelland, Martin Bain and Donald McIntyre and former Ibrox captain John Greig formed a committee to consider bids.

But interest in the club has been limited, with the bid from Ellis's consortium the most public and, at three months, the most enduring.

The Rangers statement says: "Murray International Holdings Limited (MIH) has received interest in its controlling stake from a number of parties.

"At this time, however, the board of MIH has not been able to secure an offer which it considers to be in the best interests of the club, its shareholders and its fans.

Andrew Ellis was in advanced negotiations to buy Rangers
Andrew Ellis was in advanced negotiations to buy Rangers

"Following on from the success of winning the 2009/10 SPL title and thereby securing participation in the group stages of the Champions League during 2010/11, the club recently announced that the football management team had signed new contracts.

"At the same time the board of directors of the club announced improvements in its financial position compared to the previous year, stating:

"'We believe the outcome of our recent positive discussions with the bank gives us a real platform for operational stability at the club and we thank Lloyds for their support.

"'We have a clear business plan in place and will continue to maximise efficiencies and endeavour to increase our non-playing income.'

"The board of directors of MIH therefore considers that the interests of stakeholders are presently best served by providing the football management team and board of directors with an opportunity to implement its business plan which is supported by Lloyds Banking Group.

"In these circumstances, MIH hereby announces that it is no longer actively marketing its controlling stake in the club for sale."

Stephen Smith, chairman of the Rangers Supporters Trust, told BBC Scotland that he felt the statement by MIH raised a number of questions.

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"Does this mean Murray is back in charge and running the show?" said Smith.

"Where does it leave Lloyds Bank and their role? Does Alastair Johnston continue as chairman?

"Does the business plan announced in the last couple of weeks still stand? And if so, this needs to be communicated to the support who are being asked to invest in season ticket money at this time.

"And if the Ellis offer is dead, what plans are there for securing the club's future? Murray needs to engage the supporters to involve them in the running of the club and make them a significant stakeholder.

"He needs to understand the fans are not customers but an integral part of the Rangers family."

Club manager Walter Smith, who worked without a contract since January, recently agreed a one-year deal, and hopes that on his retirement he will leave the team in good shape for his preferred replacements, assistants Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall.



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see also
Ellis advances talks with Rangers
09 Jun 10 |  Rangers
Bid for Rangers delayed for weeks
19 May 10 |  Rangers
Rangers chief urges fan patience
06 Jun 10 |  Rangers
Rangers keep Smith for final year
25 May 10 |  Rangers
Gers boss irked by Ellis comments
07 May 10 |  Rangers
Group mulls over Rangers takeover
11 Mar 10 |  Rangers


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