Paul Murray's Blue Knights consortium and Sale Sharks rugby club owner Brian Kennedy have submitted a joint bid to take control of troubled Scottish club Rangers, the two groups said on Friday.
Kennedy, who had been interested in taking sole control of the club, announced he was joining forces with former Rangers director Murray after Ticketus, who were part of the Blue Knights's original bid, withdrew its support earlier on Friday.
Rangers, champions a record 54 times, went into administration in February over unpaid tax bills and efforts to find a buyer have suffered delays because of uncertainty about the club's status on and off the pitch.
"This offer we consider to be substantial," Kennedy and Murray said in a statement.
"[The offer] is conditional on a CVA [Company Voluntary Agreement] being approved by the creditors and [owner] Mr [Craig] Whyte's shares being acquired."
Asked if teaming up with Kennedy gave the bid extra motivation, Murray said on Sky Sports News: "I think it does. I've been speaking to Brian for several months... and we are speaking from the same page.
"It adds real muscle to the whole thing.
"This is the best and final bid. Time has now run out. It is time to choose someone."
Ticketus paid Rangers owner Whyte more than 20 million pounds for the rights to sell season tickets for forthcoming years and were part of the Blue Knights group in an effort to safeguard that investment.
"Ticketus today confirms it has withdrawn from the Blue Knights consortium after it was unable to finalise satisfactory terms of agreement for its investors with the Blue Knights around restructuring its ticket purchase agreement," the company said.
"Consequently Ticketus is no longer able to play a role in the consortium's bid for Rangers Football Club PLC at this stage."
The Blue Knights and Kennedy are joined in the bidding process by U.S. businessman Bill Miller who has made a conditional bid for Rangers.
Murray believes the joint bid is the only offer that guarantees the club's future.
"It's important to do a comparison between the two bids," he said.
"I'm not interested in anything that sees the club die, my understanding of Bill Miller's bid is the club would not survive."
Rangers are a Scottish institution and their rivalry with Glasgow rivals Celtic is the focal point of domestic football.
The rescue of Rangers is hugely complicated.
The club face a tax liability of as much as 75 million pounds relating to how they paid players over the past decade.
The Scottish Football Association has also given them a 12-month transfer embargo, meaning they may have to field a weak team if top players opt to leave at the end of the season.
The Scottish Premier League will meet on Monday to decide whether to impose additional penalties on clubs that get into financial trouble.comments