US truck tycoon Bill Miller is closing in on his purchase of crisis-hit Rangers after his unconditional bid today saw him granted preferred bidder status by administrators.
Miller was vying for control with the Blue Knights consortium led by former Gers director Paul Murray and backed by Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy and now appears to have won the race to succeed Craig Whyte as owner.
The American last month unveiled plans for an £11.2million bid for Rangers which would create what he described as an "incubator" company while Duff and Phelps bid to take the club out of administration through a Creditors Voluntary Arrangement.
Joint administrator Paul Clark informed staff of the news at a meeting at Ibrox this morning.
Clark was quoted on the club's official website, http://www.rangers.co.uk, saying: "We would like to thank all parties for their efforts in seeking to submit bids which preserve the long history and success of the club.
"We are delighted to announce that today we have received an unconditional bid for the business and assets of Rangers Football Club plc from Mr Bill Miller which has been accepted in principle and he is now the preferred bidder.
"Mr Miller now proposes to complete his transaction by the end of the season."
David Whitehouse, also of Duff and Phelps, confirmed Miller's bid would not involve liquidation.
He told a press conference: "Mr Miller and his team have sought clarity in relation to any potential footballing sanctions.
"Very importantly the bid avoids the need for liquidation. All too often the term liquidation has been bandied about during this process without a clear understanding of what it actually means.
"There is no liquidation involved in this strategy and we cannot stress that strongly enough."
Whitehouse revealed that Miller's bid would achieve the terms of a Creditors Voluntary Agreement which would guarantee creditors were not left empty-handed.
"Mr Miller's bid achieves that criteria," he added.
"Mr Miller's proposal is the only unconditional bid we have received. The bid proposed by Mr Miller is greater than any other and provides the best return to creditors."