Hearts SPA deal done, Ann Budge to start next week

Ann Budge is expected to be in her new role at Tynecastle next week. Pic: SNS

Ann Budge is expected to be in her new role at Tynecastle next week. Pic: SNS

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HEARTS today completed a sale and purchase agreement to transfer almost 80 per cent of their shareholding to new owner Ann Budge.

The deal severs the last of the club’s ties to Lithuanian companies Ukio Bankas and Ukio Bankas Investment Group and means they can officially exit administration.

Budge has a management agreement in place with Hearts’ administrators BDO to let her run the club until they are out of administration, which should happen within five to six weeks. The Evening News has learned that she could move into Tynecastle as early as Monday if everything goes to plan.

BDO lawyers worked frantically through the night with their counterparts in Lithuania to get the SPA signed off and pass the shares on to Budge’s BIDCO 1874 holding company. Ukio Bankas had already agreed to a £2.5million Company Voluntary Arrangement for their 29.9 per cent stake in the Edinburgh club. UBIG had agreed a separate deal for their 50 per cent stake.

BDO have grouped the shares together and will now pass them on to Budge in one transaction which brings an end to nine years of Lithuanian rule in Gorgie. Budge hopes to start making key decisions quickly at Hearts and will hold talks with manager Gary Locke and a host of players who are all out of contract.