David Low, the financial advisor heading a consortium which has launched a £3.5 million bid for Hibs, has insisted he won’t reveal the identities of those backing the deal unless their offer is accepted.
But Low promised that if the move to buy owner Sir Tom Farmer’s shares in the club’s parent company HFC Holdings is successful, the details of everyone involved will be revealed, adding: “There will be full transparency.”
A self-confessed Celtic fan who was involved in Fergus McCann’s takeover of the Glasgow club, Low believes a change of ownership at Easter Road would “unleash a very positive genie out of the bottle” and encourage disaffected fans to return to Easter Road, claiming that with Scottish football enjoying a level financial playing field for the first time in a generation there was a fantastic opportunity for a well-managed, well-financed club such as Hibs to once again challenge for honours.
News of the bid became public knowledge over the weekend although Hibs have insisted that the club is not being actively sold or marketed despite Low’s claim the consortium had been encouraged to make an offer by non-executive chairman Rod Petrie, an assertion which was described as “incorrect” by a club source.
Low revealed he’d been approached by a couple of friends in Edinburgh about buying Hibs which, after thought, he felt would be a good idea. Claiming a “genuine affection” for Hibs, he revealed he’d been a regular at Easter Road having worked in Edinburgh for 12 years and stayed in the Capital for half that time, although he admitted those visits were when “Celtic were playing away from home”.
He said: “It’s a fantastic club. I would not pretend to be anything other than a Celtic fan because everyone knows that and I would never try to deny that. But Hibs are a good club and I think now we have a financial level playing field in the Scottish game. It’s a fantastic opportunity for a well-run cub to challenge for honours, to take Celtic on. That’s why the group I am involved in has made this offer to Sir Tom Farmer because we understand he wants to sell the club.”
While revealing his consortium were open to fans’ involvement both in ownership and at boardroom level and declaring the likes of new chief executive Leeann Dempster and head coach Alan Stubbs wouldn’t be under threat should his team succeed, Low was reluctant to name his partners nor could he disclose how much money might be pumped into the club.
Asked in an interview by The Scottish Football Monitor who those other individuals were – former Hibs chairman Malcolm McPherson and Frank Lynch, former owner of Carlisle-based non-league club Celtic Nation have already been named as being involved – Low replied: “There’s myself, my business partner in the States, Ralph Lynch, and a number of other investors both here in the United Kingdom and in the States.
“I am not going to give the names of these people just now unless our offer is accepted and it looks as if it’s going to proceed. At that point everybody that’s involved in the consortium will have their details released. There will be absolute transparency, everything will become crystal clear.”
Low revealed that unlike the McCann era at Celtic, there would be very little capital expenditure required at Easter Road given the stadium and training ground is complete meaning any money going into the club will essentially be ploughed into the playing side. However, he couldn’t put a figure on that saying: “The amount will be determined once we have completed due diligence, you cannot say with any degree of accuracy or honesty how much money is required to be invested in Hibs until you have had access to the books.”
And Low was adamant he didn’t see there being a conflict between his support of Celtic and trying to knock them off their perch should he and his consortium be successful. “I like Edinburgh, “ he said. “And Hibs is green enough for me.”