The shock development appears to place Ng’s group in pole position to claim preferred-bidder status.
American businessman Bill Miller also remains in the running, with a two-way fight now underway to take the stricken Ibrox outfit into overseas ownership.
It’s understood there is anger among the Blue Knights at how Ticketus have behaved in the process after the Paul Murray-headed consortium were on the brink of being named as preferred bidder last Friday. A £500,000 deposit was required, which Ticketus refused to supply.
However, sources close to the London-based investment firm — who last year funded Craig Whyte’s takeover with a £24.4million deal based on future season-ticket sales — insist they were open about also holding talks with the Singaporeans, who have now offered them a better deal.
The Blue Knights are not prepared to raise the terms of their offer to Ticketus as they believe that would not be in the best interests of the club.
Murray’s group were prepared to pay Ticketus £10million of the £27m they are owed by Rangers over a long-term period. It’s understood Ng’s consortium will pay more over a shorter timeframe.
The twist in the saga will stun Rangers fans as three main supporters’ groups had given their backing to the Blue Knights.
A statement from the consortium confirmed they were pulling back to see if Ng could reach the rapid agreement they feel is necessary to save the club from liquidation. Murray’s group will, however, remain on standby to rejoin the fight for control.
‘We reconfirmed our position and we believed that we would be awarded preferred-bidder status on Friday morning.
‘As part of the process of awarding exclusivity, Duff & Phelps had requested a non-refundable deposit. During the course of Friday, Ticketus informed us that they were not prepared to provide this deposit.
‘During the course of the weekend, individuals within the consortium offered to put up the deposit subject to a small number of conditions which were broadly agreed with Duff & Phelps.
‘We were also made aware that Ticketus had been in discussions with the Singaporean consortium who, on Friday, had offered Ticketus a “substantially” better deal to the one offered by us. We confirmed that we were not prepared to increase our offer to Ticketus, which we believe to be in
the Club’s best interests.
‘The consortium believes that the whole deal process has become incredibly complex and it is critical that a preferred bidder is appointed this week.
‘As a consequence, and in the best interests of the club, the consortium has decided to take a step back.
Joint administrator David Whitehouse confirmed the Blue Knights had been within touching distance of becoming preferred bidder.
‘It is disappointing the Blue Knights are withdrawing at this stage, particularly in the view of the fact that last week it was made clear to them and Ticketus that their indicative bid placed them in a strong position,’ said Whitehouse.
‘We were therefore surprised that their offer to pay an exclusivity fee was withdrawn and, although discussions over the exclusivity fee continued over the weekend, no agreement was reached.
‘We are aware that Ticketus has also been, at their own instigation, in parallel discussion with one of the other bidders over the last few weeks and it remains to be seen whether these discussions will be taken forward.
‘We can reassure supporters that we look forward to making an announcement on a preferred bidder later this week, assuming no further hurdles are placed in our path.’ (SOURCE)