Talks will continue today to iron out two details before moving matters on to the Takeover Panel. An announcement that Whyte is the new owner of Rangers could be made today or more probably tomorrow.
The £52.5m deal was opposed last week by the independent committee of the Rangers board, but a summit meeting on Sunday tilted the balance towards Whyte.
It is understood Murray, who has owned Rangers since 1988, strongly supported the Whyte bid against the alternative proposal put forward by Paul Murray, the Rangers non-executive director, who is part of a consortium headed by Dave King.
Murray, though, is still pushing for Whyte to ring-fence the £25m of transfer funds earmarked over five years for Ally McCoist, who will take over from Walter Smith as Rangers manager at the end of the season.
The Whyte camp has previously insisted this was contrary to good business practice but it is likely some sort of compromise will be found to allow the club to be taken over. Whyte, too, has indicated he will, this summer, give McCoist more than the £5m originally anticipated.
Alastair Johnston, the Rangers chairman who heads the independent committee vetting the takeover move, announced last week that the group was sceptical of Whyte’s ability to produce the money to take the club forward.
However, such dissent has evaporated in the face of the reality of the situation. Paul Murray’s bid has been rated too little, too late. The Lloyds Banking Group -- the club’s major creditor -- has consistently indicated it was content with the deal to pay off the debt negotiated with Whyte.
“There was no appetite for renegotiation on the part of Lloyds with another party,” a banking source confirmed last night.
In the face of such backing from the owner and the forceful noises from the Lloyds Banking Group supporting Whyte, the Rangers board have come round to accepting what is the only viable option on the table.
The options were limited as the board could not veto any deal and the plan B by Paul Murray was increasingly seen to be a non-starter. The Rangers director’s bid involved paying off the debt to Lloyds in stages and also involved a subsequent share issue to raise funds.
Whyte, in contrast, had the basic blocks of his bid in place. He has reached an agreement with Sir David Murray for the businessman’s 93% share of the club and had deposited £28m with Lloyds. This is comprised of £18m to satisfy the conditions of the debt repayment and a further £10m for working capital for the club.
Sir David Murray’s push for the £25m fund for players to be guaranteed reflects the Rangers owner’s desire to leave the club with a definitive legacy. He has always insisted he would only sell the club to an owner who could take it forward and “ring-fenced” funds would be a strong signal of intent.
However, business sources last night said Whyte would be going against accepted business practices if he acceded to such a move. It is more likely some compromise will be reached over this issue.