A £3.5 million bid to buy out Hibs owner Sir Tom Farmer has been thrown out, the Evening News can reveal today.
Financial advisor David Low fronted a consortium involving former Hibs chairman Malcolm McPherson along with Frank Lynch, former owner of Carlisle-based non-league club Celtic Nation, and also including, he said, further investors in both the United Kingdom and the United States. However, Low insisted their identity would only be made known should the offer be accepted.
They had hoped to purchase Sir Tom’s 90 per cent stake in HFC Holdings, the club’s parent company, with Low claiming a “fantastic opportunity” exists with Scottish football enjoying a level financial playing field for a well-managed, well-financed club to challenge for honours and to “take Celtic on”.
Low, a self-confessed Celtic fan who was closely involved in Fergus McCann’s takeover at Parkhead, believed Hibs could be just that club, adamant that a change of ownership would help persuade disaffected fans, frustrated by the way in which the club has badly under-performed in recent years, back to Easter Road.
The consortium’s plans also included scope for supporters’ representation in the boardroom and ownership although Low also stated they would walk away should their attempted takeover fail to convince fans of their plans.
Low also revealed he didn’t “expect any early resolution”, but when asked today if there had been any developments, a Hibs spokesman confirmed the approach had been “rejected”, though declined to elaborate further.
Now it will be up to Low, who claimed Farmer wants to sell Hibs, and his associates to decide whether to press forward with a further offer while the Forever Hibernian group, headed by former Easter Road player Paul Kane, has also approached the club’s owner with a view to buying a 51 per cent stake, although they are yet to make the detail of their proposals public.
Throughout the developments of recent days, Hibs have repeatedly insisted that the club is not being actively sold or marketed and that the idea chairman Rod Petrie was encouraging bids was “incorrect.”
However, Farmer, while not seeking a sale, has made no secret of the fact that he’d engage positively with anyone who believes they could take the club forward.