ANGELO MASSONE is preparing another bid for control of Hearts, the Evening News can reveal. The Italian is in talks with several Scottish businessmen and visited Edinburgh earlier this week as he attempts to form a new consortium to gain control of the Edinburgh club.
Vladimir Romanov, Hearts’ majority shareholder, rejected a £4.5million offer from Massone in November, but the former Livingston owner is undeterred in his attempts to return to Scottish football. He claims to have the wherewithal to “bring Hearts to the highest level” and believes that heavy Scottish backing will reinforce a new bid.
“We made an offer two months ago and nothing happened,” said Massone, whose first bid was made on behalf of a predominantly Italian consortium. “At this stage, for me it is more important to speak with Scottish people who can afford to stay together and put another offer to Mr Romanov. We are speaking with Scottish business people who are interested in this and after that we will try to speak to supporters to explain our plan and what we want to do.
“I’m sure these businessmen can help. I have good contacts with them and I think we can create a good consortium for a good football project. The target is to bring Hearts to the highest level.”
Massone jetted back to his home in Italy last night to consider his options. His plan is to include a degree of fan ownership in any takeover, with around ten per cent of shares being owned by supporters’ groups. He could lodge a second bid for control of Hearts before the end of the month, however he was reluctant to confirm how much more
money he will be able to offer.
“I don’t want to speak about money at this stage. I think if Mr Romanov receives a good offer, maybe from a consortium with Scottish people inside it, he will accept,” continued Massone. “I have spoken with several people already and I think we can organise our plan together. I’m not sure regards the timing of our next offer.”
Hearts supporters are likely to oppose any takeover attempt from Massone following his infamous and chaotic reign at Livingston, which ended in 2009 after he took the club to the brink of liquidation.
Meanwhile, Hearts paid all players their monthly salaries on time yesterday for the second successive month. The club remains subject to transfer restrictions over bonuses owed to players. However, senior
officials are working to demonstrate to the Scottish Premier League that there are no further “remuneration defaults” after wage delays earlier in the