Bryan JACKSON has “upped the ante” in an effort to speed along the process of securing the shareholdings that will allow Hearts to exit administration.
The BDO administrator is growing anxious at the length of time it is taking for the situation in Lithuania, which the Tynecastle club’s future hinges on, to become clear.
A CVA proposal was agreed in principle at the end of November, but the deal is reliant on prospective new owners Foundation of Hearts securing shares from two bankrupt Lithuanian companies.
Ukio Bankas Investment Group (UBIG) hold 50 per cent of Hearts’ shares, while Ukio Bankas hold 29.9 per cent. Both companies are in administration, having been declared insolvent.
BDO are eager for creditors’ meetings to take place at both companies as soon as possible in order to ratify the transfer of shares.
No dates have yet been set for the meetings – UBIG creditors are supposed to meet later this month – and Jackson, desperate to see some clear movement by the end of February, is making concerted attempts to accelerate the process.
“The big stumbling block is still getting the shares,” the administrator told the Evening News. “That’s what we’re working towards just now. If we can get them, then I think we’ll get over the line. We’ll know before the end of February whether we’re at least going in the right direction.
“We’re pressing along in the background, but it’s very slow. It’s hard to judge how aggressive you should be in chasing it along. You don’t want to be overly aggressive, you want to be diplomatic. But we are upping the ante because we can’t let it slide too much longer. Reminders that were once every few days are now going in virtually every day. If it gets to the end of February and things haven’t moved on, it will start to become an issue.
“There’s no real Plan B after that. If we get to the end of February and the deal’s not done then we need to assess whether the deal’s going to get done at all and if so how close we are to getting it completed. If we’re close to getting it done, then we might be able to hold on for another few weeks. The situation’s pretty fluid, it’s just a case of assessing all your options at the time.”
Meanwhile, Jackson insists Hearts have enough funds to survive a six-week period without a home game after today’s visit from Motherwell.
With Hearts’ League Cup semi-final on February 2 causing the home match with St Mirren to be moved, the next game in Gorgie is not scheduled until February 22, when Celtic visit.
“We’ve budgeted for this period without a home game,” he said. “We’ve been aware of the situation since we made the League Cup semi-final. In normal circumstances you’d have a home game then an away game, but this situation doesn’t alter our initial indications that we’ve got funds until the end of February.”
While Jackson is content that the club have enough money set aside to get through this period, he called on supporters to turn out and back their embattled side against Motherwell today.
He added: “Fans have continued to support the team through these difficult times and I understand that this is a particularly depressing time for them. But it’s important that they keep turning out first of all for financial reasons and, secondly, from a psychological point of view, to help the team keep things alive.”