Football

Rangers off the market

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Rangers owner Sir David Murray has confirmed the Scottish champions are no longer for sale.

There had been speculation last week that a deal was imminent, with reports indicating it was being part-funded by investment from Dubai and Qatar.

However, a statement on the club's website, www.rangersfc.co.uk, on Tuesday night concluded with: "MIH (principal shareholder Murray International Holdings) hereby announces that it is no longer actively marketing its controlling stake in the club for sale."

Murray revealed that he has been unable to secure an offer which he believes is in the best interests of the club - news which will come as a surprise to those who thought a takeover was imminent.

Just last week, a consortium fronted by London-based property developer Andrew Ellis announced to the stock exchange that they were in "advanced negotiations" to buy a controlling interest in Rangers.

But, with manager Walter Smith and his backroom staff secured on new contracts, Murray says he now wants to push ahead with a business plan following "positive talks" with the club's bankers, Lloyds Banking Group.

The statement read: "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.

"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."

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