Glasgow & West Scotland

Rangers crisis: '£30m hole' scared off Bill Miller bid

US businessman Bill Miller has dropped his bid to buy Rangers after taking more time to examine the financial state of the club.

It is understood that his team was looking at a figure amounting to about £30m, simply to turn around the Glasgow club.

Why did Bill Miller walk away from Rangers?

Speaking on the BBC's Newsnight Scotland programme, Mr Miller's adviser Jon Pritchett said that when the millionaire looked at the detailed figures the financial situation showed "the hole is maybe a little deeper and the length of time is a little farther" than expected.

This is the key reason for the American businessman deciding not to invest in the club.

Why did the man from Tennessee want the club in the first place?

Bill Miller's business history includes turning around distressed assets. He was originally invited to invest in a consortium considering a bid for Rangers.

The consortium failed but Mr Miller's interest was aroused and he decided to pursue the club alone. His strategy was to turn Rangers around so that it was in a position to break even.

The thinking was that sporting assets accumulate in value even if they do not return large profits annually. If Mr Miller could acquire Rangers at a suitable price he would then be in a position to exit with a healthy return.

But key to that calculation was the amount of money needed to get Rangers to a position in which the club could break even.

Neither Mr Pritchett nor Mr Miller have commented on how big the financial "hole" was - but a ball park figure of about £30m has been suggested to the BBC. If accurate, and his plans are replicated by others, that could represent a significant commitment for any future successful bidder.

So he wasn't interested in football?

Mr Miller is said to be a sports fan but no-one suggests he has any long-standing affinity for Rangers Football Club.

He is, however, from a country which is showing an increasing interest in soccer. Mr Miller noted this trend and it helped him decide to pursue the purchase of a football club.

Friends, who are supporters of both Celtic and Rangers, then told him of the fierce Old Firm rivalry. It was something which he had planned to witness personally, but that now looks very unlikely.

Will he return?

There is little chance. Bill Miller has recently taken delivery of a new yacht and had been putting off a long trip on his new purchase.

His concentration in future months is likely to be on nautical, not footballing matters.

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