Rangers' administrators expect to know on Thursday whether a deal can be done this week.

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Rangers are still looking for a new owne

Rangers are still looking for a new owne

Rangers' administrators expect to know on Thursday whether a deal can be done to safeguard the future of the beleaguered club by the end of this week.

Duff and Phelps are evaluating three offers for the Glasgow giants after American tycoon Bill Miller withdrew his offer despite being granted preferred bidder status ahead of a rival bid from Brian Kennedy and the Blue Knights consortium.

Two of the three bidders are new to the process, said co-administrator David Whitehouse of Duff and Phelps, who remains optimistic of progress before Rangers play their final match of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League season at St Johnstone on Sunday.

Whitehouse did not wish to contemplate failure to find a buyer.

"It would be a pretty bleak picture," he told the BBC on Wednesday. "But those offers we have on the table and the proposals in place are all capable of being delivered before the end of the season.

"Whether it is likely, we are going to be in a better position to say that by midday tomorrow.

"The structure of deals being discussed vary, but all are working to timetable that they have to be completed by the end of the season."

Whitehouse revealed two of the three would-be purchasers have held discussions with Rangers manager Ally McCoist over player requirements and funding for next season.

Miller favoured a 'newco' route to create what he described as an "incubator" company while Duff and Phelps aimed to take the club out of administration through a Creditors Voluntary Arrangement.

Two of the three bids are planning a "similar" offer while a third favours a straight CVA, having proved to Duff and Phelps they have a means of securing current owner Craig Whyte's shares.

Whitehouse added: "One of the bids is for a stand-alone CVA and there are a number of hurdles which need to be overcome. Our view is that it is challenging, but it is not impossible.

"The purchaser who is talking to us about a stand-alone CVA has demonstrated to us that they have got a mechanism where Craig Whyte's shares are not an issue.

"The key issue is funding the business at the end of the season.

"In a stand-alone CVA there will be a period beyond the end of the season through which the business would need to be funded, to the point where the CVA effectively becomes unconditional.

"After the creditors' meeting there is a 28-day period where technically people could appeal the CVA. There is a level of vulnerability during that period.

"What we are saying to purchasers is if they want to do a stand-alone CVA, they have to put the funding in place to meet that period.

"That again is a period where it would be difficult, not necessarily impossible, but it would be difficult to use season-ticket sales.

"The attached burden is between £2million and £3million per month. That isn't a funding loss, that's a cash shortfall."

Miller withdrew after conducting due diligence and described information he received in preliminary discussions as being "more optimistic than reality".

The American businessman also pointed out opposition to his takeover bid by Rangers fans as a reason for his withdrawal.

Whitehouse maintains the club can recover quickly, but was reluctant to reveal more about the three bidders.

"If you wanted to be prudent, it would be quite deliverable to manage a cash scenario which would be break even, during that first year of domestic football," Whitehouse said.

"There are lessons to be learned from the Bill Miller bid. He would have received probably a more favourable response if he had engaged closer with the fans at an earlier stage.

"But I think there is a balance to strike between putting your head above the parapet and becoming involved in what is a very intense media scenario, and actually focusing in the first instance on getting a bid which is aligned to the interest of creditors and is actually deliverable.

"The other parties that we are talking to would not be as reluctant as Bill Miller, in our opinion, to engage more openly once their position is verified."

Sarah Bell from Duff and Phelps said a 'newco' deal would be quicker, but all new interested parties have adequate funding in place.

She told Rangers' website: "Some fans may wonder why three bidders have suddenly emerged when Bill Miller was in preferred bidder status and then withdrew but they had been studying the situation.

"What we can say is that without going into exact figures we are satisfied that all three parties have the financial wherewithal to complete a deal.

"We have also taken the decision not to send out renewals for season tickets so that any party coming in to take over the club would have that funding.

"I can say that HMRC are interested to see the merits of each one of the offers and they are open to further discussion with us.

"We want to try to reassure supporters that while our duty as administrators is to secure the best deal for creditors, this is not just about the survival of the club but giving it the ability to thrive.

"As I said we hope to be in running with one party by the end of this week."

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