published Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Chattanooga-based Miller Industries chief may buy broke soccer team

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    Bill Miller of Miller Industries Contributed Photo

Bill Miller, chairman of Miller Industries, is in talks to buy a bankrupt Scottish soccer team, according to the BBC and other news outlets.

Chattanooga-based Miller Industries is a leading manufacturer of tow trucks.

Through an intermediary, Miller's son declined to comment on the sale.

Though Miller himself is reportedly "not a big soccer fan," he has a history of turning around troubled enterprises, the Glasgow-based Herald reported. Previous sports ventures include a failed racing league called the Team Racing Auto Circuit that was designed to compete with NASCAR.

Including Miller's bid, the 140-year-old Rangers have received three offers to rescue the team from a reported $212.7 million in debt, according to news reports.

After an initial offer as part of a 12-man Chicago consortium fell through, Miller pushed forward with the deal along with a handful of the original group, according to the Daily Record, also Glasgow-based.

Miller formed Miller Industries in April 1990 and employs 760 workers who make tow trucks under a number of brands. The company earned $23 million in 2011 on $412 million in sales, according to Miller Industries' annual report.

Miller himself owns nearly 3 percent of the company, or about $5 million in stock.

In addition to its headquarters and manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Miller Industries also has facilities in Greeneville, Tenn.; Hermitage and Mercer, Pa.; Thetford, England; and Revigny, France.

about Ellis Smith...

Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...

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