Fans group named preferred bidder

15 August 2013 12:46

The fans group hoping to buy administration-hit Hearts have been handed a major boost after they were named the club's preferred bidder by BDO.

The finance trouble-shooters say the Foundation of Hearts have put together a "credible" attempt to save the Tynecastle club from debts totalling almost £29million.

Thursday's development appears to signal the end of another takeover bidder, Five Stars Football Ltd - who list controversial former Livingston director Angelo Massone among their directors - after BDO opted to put their faith in FoH's supporter-led package.

Bryan Jackson, of BDO, said: "The naming of a preferred bidder is the next step in the process of selling the club. It allows us to work with one party around which everyone can rally. In doing so, we maximise the prospects of agreeing a sale price that is acceptable to the Administrator of Ukio Bankas, and securing the necessary consent and ownership for FoH.

"This is an important milestone and reflects our belief that FoH is a credible bidder for the club. However, we all still have a lot of work to do to demonstrate to the major creditors that the bid can offer them the best possible outcome. Let's not get carried away - now is the time for everyone to get behind FoH to make this bid work.

"This is a positive development but does not guarantee that a CVA will be successful. That will require a considerable combined effort from FoH and BDO to ensure that all interested parties are satisfied.

"At the moment we cannot put a timescale on the process as a number of negotiations with various parties still need to take place and we are waiting for the appointment of administrators to UBIG to be ratified. However, we can ensure that collectively we make as much progress as possible on our side so we are able to finalise the matter quickly once the opportunity presents itself."

The administrators of Ukio Bankas - the Lithuanian firm who hold a 29.9 per cent stake in the Jambos but are owed £15.5million - told both FoH and Five Stars Football last month that their offers were well below the level of finance needed to dissuade them from liquidating Hearts and using the money to settle some of the insolvent investment firm's £380million debts.

After requesting further offers from the two remaining interested parties and discussing them with Gintaras Adomonis, the administrator of Ukio Bankas, BDO has decided FoH's offer is the best hope for the club.

As well as debts to Ukio Bankas another firm once controlled by former club owner Vladimir Romanov, Hearts majority shareholder UBIG, is due £8.2million with around £5million due to a list of other companies.

Source: PA