A "substantial" written offer to purchase Rangers Football Club has been submitted to the club's administrators.
Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy and the Blue Knights have joined forces to submit the bid to Duff and Phelps
The offer is subject to a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) being agreed with creditors and the acquisition of current owner Craig Whyte's shares.
The news was confirmed in a joint statement from Mr Kennedy and former Ibrox director Paul Murray, who fronts the Blue Knights consortium.
The statement read: "We are pleased to announce that the Blue Knights, led by Paul Murray and Brian Kennedy, have joined forces and at 3pm today have submitted a written offer to the lawyers of the administrators to purchase Rangers Football Club. This offer we consider to be substantial and is conditional on a CVA being approved by the creditors, and Mr Whyte's shares being acquired. We hope this is accepted so that we may proceed with due diligence forthwith and make a start to the task of rebuilding Rangers Football Club of 1872."
The Blue Knights were offered the chance to assume preferred bidders' status two weeks ago, but potential partners Ticketus would not pay the £500,000 exclusivity fee and they stepped back from the process to allow the investment firm to complete a deal with Bill Ng.
That failed to materialise and Ticketus withdrew from the Blue Knights consortium but the partnership with Mr Kennedy, who had an improved verbal offer rejected last week, is a new development despite previous co-operation.
Ticketus will still have a hugely significant role to play as they are currently the major creditors - before a looming tax tribunal decision - and could block a CVA. Mr Murray has previously stated his deal with Ticketus made a CVA more likely as it removed them from the equation.
The London-based firm could also be pivotal in the future of Whyte's 85% shareholding. Whyte gave personal guarantees on capital provided by Ticketus, which helped him complete his £1 takeover by paying off the club's bank debt. Ticketus could pursue Whyte for any shortfall in the £26.7million they are owed for future season ticket sales and that could be used as leverage to take his shares, if it provides a return to their investors.
Ticketus had been in talks over helping finance the Blue Knights' bid in return for a guaranteed return of around £10 million, but they confirmed on Friday morning they were pulling out as they could not justify their involvement to their investors.Ticketus pointed to complexities caused by "delays to the administration process", Scottish Football Association sanctions and Scottish Premier League financial fair play proposals.