Hibs braced for AGM opposition to billionaire's minority stake bid as one feeling emerges from Easter Road

The Easter Road club are on the brink of joining the American's multi-club stable.
Foley's buy-in goes before shareholders on Tuesday night.Foley's buy-in goes before shareholders on Tuesday night.
Foley's buy-in goes before shareholders on Tuesday night.

Hibs are confident that opposition from a large block of supporter-shareholders will have no impact on billionaire Bournemouth owner Bill Foley’s bid for a minority stake in the Easter Road club.

And they don’t expect Hibernian Supporters Limited to find the support needed to block the £6 million deal at Tuesday night’s AGM. HSL went public with their views over the weekend, led by club legend Jackie McNamara declaring himself “appalled” by the treatment of shareholding fans. The supporters’ group, initially sold to punters as a vehicle capable of eventually delivering fan ownership, own 15.4 per cent of stock on the Scottish Premiership club.

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After receiving the green light for the Foley deal from the SFA, the current Hibs board need to win a 75 per cent majority of shareholders in order to carry the key rulings – Resolutions 5 and 6 on the agenda – that will allow the investment to be completed. Late chairman Ron Gordon’s family, represented by son Ian and widow Kit, own around 67 per cent of shares.

It is understood that the Gordons are keen to work with HSL, taking on board their concerns about Foley’s investment – he’s allowed to buy in as long as his overall share of the company doesn’t exceed 29.9 per cent – at seeing their own stake in the club diluted by the issue of new shares. HSL will be allowed to put forward a motion and make their case against the deal, in its current form, at Tuesday night’s annual general meeting at the stadium.

McNamara, a director of HSL and former club captain, went public with his concerns over the weekend, declaring: "I have been appalled by the way that the club board have behaved towards so many ordinary Hibs supporters who have been so supportive and generous to the club. To find ourselves in such a position, of being asked to vote to deprive ourselves of club shares given that our primary objective is to do just that, is just plain crazy.”

Hibernian Supporters chairman Jim Adie added: “We have carried out our process in accordance with our rules and it is now for other shareholders to make their own choices.”

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Hibs chief executive Ben Kensell recently sought to reassure fans about multi-club magnate Foley taking control of Hibs by the back door, insisting that the first team wouldn’t be filled with loan players – and there would be money invested in the squad. As was first revealed here back in October, Foley believes the club can be the undisputed third force in Scottish football.

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