FOUNDATION of Hearts chairman Ian Murray believes his group’s bid for the Edinburgh club is the best of the three lodged with administrators BDO.
In an email sent to those who have pledged money to the Foundation, he said the fan-led organisation prioritises the “future protection and growth of the club”.
Bob Jamieson’s HMFC Limited and Angelo Massone’s Five Stars Football Limited lodged offers to rival the Foundation’s before last Friday’s deadline. Reports that HMFC Limited’s bid is in trouble because American financers Club 9 Sports are withholding £5 million of funding have been denied by Jamieson.
Foundation of Hearts’ offer comprises £2m to fund a Creditors’ Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with Hearts’ major creditors, Ukio Bankas and UBIG, who are owed £15m and £10m respectively. Their bid also includes £3.75m to run Hearts for the next three years based on fans’ pledges. HMFC Limited proposed £1.8m for a CVA and £3.2m for working capital, whilst Massone’s company offered a straight £4m.
In the email sent out by the Foundation, Murray said: “As you’ll have no doubt seen in BDO’s announcement, three bids were received for the club. Administrator Bryan Jackson told the media none were acceptable in their current form, but that is to be expected. Discussions will continue in the weeks ahead.
“Bryan and his colleague Trevor Birch, leading the Hearts administration process, have done a fantastic job, working with club staff to deliver relative progress after the darkness of three weeks ago. We agree completely with their assertion that this process will take time and therefore it could be a month before a preferred bidder is identified. Fundamentally, until UBIG joins Ukio Bankas in having its own administrator appointed there’s a wait for all of us.
“The media have reported that HMFC Ltd and Five Stars Football Ltd are the other two bidding parties. The Foundation at this stage will not comment on the bids of other organisations. There’s been a fair amount of comment and conjecture, and perhaps even a bit of scaremongering from one or two individuals, but we’ve said all along we’re going to focus on what matters to us: Heart of Midlothian. The administrators need a period of time to do their job and we will just let them get on with that job.
“The Foundation of Hearts is confident that the bid submitted on its behalf: Is the best financial bid for Hearts and its creditors; Has cash ready to complete the transaction immediately; Provides the strongest possible working capital solution; Delivers lowest risk for creditors and the future protection and growth of the club; Combines the best business people, and their capital, with genuine supporter interest and influence; Delivers a highly professionally run club with a clear way to engage Foundation members to the benefit and growth of the club
“A number of you are of course keen to know how the bid is structured. At the moment we can’t discuss this as we are in a competitive situation. What we will say is it has been very sensibly thought through and delivers the outcome the Foundation of Hearts seeks: that potent mix of business expertise, capital and a highly engaged supporter base.
“Many of you reading this have now set up your direct debit, and even based on simple arithmetic you’ll have worked out there’s now well over £1m a year in additional revenue to the club to repay the purchase price and invest in Hearts.
“Of course, we have room for more as the more revenue we have the quicker we can repay the purchase price and reinvest in club. There is a very small playing squad and there is a funding gap to be covered. The more we have the more can be invested. So if you’ve not signed up, or you know friends or family that have not done so, we’d encourage you to get them involved ahead of our first planned draw down of money around August 2.
“We are now on the way towards 6,000 direct debits. This is no longer a bid, it’s a movement. It’s the biggest supporter-led movement in the history of Scottish football.”