Rangers have received an £18million takeover bid from the owner of NBA side Phoenix Suns.
But it is understood US financier Robert Sarver may now be prepared to back Dave King and the ‘Three Bears’ group’s attempts to seize control of the club.
The BBC has reported that Sarver – who is also chief executive officer of Western Alliance Bancorporation, a company listed on the New York stock exchange – wants to buy a controlling stake in the Ibrox side.
He lodged his offer in an email to Rangers International Football Club chairman David Somers just after Christmas.
Sarver – a keen sports fan whose sons are interested in the game – asked the Rangers board to call a general meeting to vote on a plan which would have seen enough new shares issued to hand him a 51 per cent stake.
The 52-year-old was also prepared to spend up to £15m buying out any remaining shareholders as he sought a 100 per cent stake in the club.
Sarver, who also owns the Phoenix Mercury Women’s National Basketball Association team, submitted his offer at the same time to WH Ireland, which manages RIFC’s listing on the Alternative Investment Market.
But it remains to be seen if he will press ahead with his bid after former oldco director King followed the Three Bears group of Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor in buying up significant tranches of equity last week.
King now holds a 14.57 per cent share, while Park, Letham and Taylor are responsible for 19 per cent.
It is understood the Three Bears have had tentative talks with Sarver but there is no deal in place.
However, it seems unlikely that he will now be able to take control of the club following the moves made by King and the Three Bears.
At least 75 per cent of shareholders would have to agree to new shares being issued to a non-shareholder at a general meeting, after resolution nine was defeated at the annual general meeting in December.
Somers has already rejected a £16m investment plan offered by King which would have seen the South African-based businessman receive a controlling stake and seats on the board.