Hearts should be out of administration before the end of April after a deal to transfer shares to prospective owners Foundation of Hearts was finalised.
The club’s administrators, BDO, confirmed today that Ukio Bankas Investment Group (UBIG) have formally agreed to hand over their 50 per cent stake, pending legal approval in Lithuania.
The Evening News revealed two weeks ago that a price of around £50,000 had been agreed for UBIG to transfer their shareholding in Hearts to the Foundation. The deal has now been finalised, with BDO acting as the middle man, allowing a sale and purchase agreement to be signed and put before the courts.
Foundation of Hearts already have a Creditors’ Voluntary Arrangement in place to secure another 29.9 per cent of shares in the Edinburgh club from Ukio Bankas. The CVA, worth £2.5million to the Lithuanian bank’s administrators, is conditional upon the Foundation getting UBIG’s 50 per cent stake. BDO have now struck a deal with UBIG that allows the fans’ umbrella group to press ahead with their takeover.
Provided the transfer of UBIG’s shares is ratified in the Lithuanian courts, Hearts will be able to exit administration. BDO have given a timescale of eight to ten weeks for the full takeover to be completed.
Hearts’ joint administrator Bryan Jackson said today: “This is welcome news for the club as it means that the transfer of ownership can go ahead. While there remain some technical issues to resolve the process is now gaining some momentum.
“I would again like to thank the fans, the staff and the players for their continued patience during this time. For all of those involved with Hearts, on and off the pitch and on the terraces, it has been a very difficult period and their assistance and support has been greatly appreciated.”
Ian Murray, chairman of Foundation of Hearts, said: “This is very welcome news from BDO. We are edging closer to getting the club out of administration and we are now talking about when rather than if.
“This is a very significant hurdle overcome and we are delighted but more work is required. Let me continue to stress that we encourage every supporter who has not yet done so, and is able, to set up their monthly contribution at www.foundationofhearts.org.”