The preferred bidder for insolvent football club Heart of Midlothian FC has been named by administrators BDO LLP.
A bid submitted by Foundation of Hearts (FoH), a fan group set up in 2010, was named ahead of two other bidders today (15 August), although the bid has not yet been formally accepted.
FoH chairman, Ian Murry MP, said it was an important day towards “putting Heart of Midlothian back on its feet.”
He said: “We are proud that the bid backed by FoH has been named preferred bidder. Let us be clear, though. The journey is only beginning.
“In order to make this happen we need as many supporters as possible to sign up to make a monthly contribution via direct debit.”
Heart of Midlothian plc entered administration on 19 June with debts of £25m – £10m of which is due to parent company, UBIG, which is claiming insolvency, and £15m to Ukio Bankas, which was declared bankrupt in June.
Bryan Jackson, joint administrator and partner at BDO, said: “The naming of a preferred bidder is the next step in the process of selling the club. It allows us to work with one party around which everyone can rally.
“In doing so, we maximise the prospects of agreeing a sale price that is acceptable to the administrator of Ukio Bankas, and securing the necessary consent and ownership for FoH.”
A deal to exit administration via a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) must be agreed with the clubs major creditors, although a decision on Ukio Bankas’ future has yet to be made.
Jackson explained: “This is a positive development but does not guarantee that a CVA will be successful.
“That will require a considerable combined effort from FoH and BDO to ensure that all parties are satisfied.
“At the moment we cannot put a timescale on the process as a number of negotiations with various parties still need to take place and we are waiting for the appointment of administrators to UBIG to be ratified.”
As a result of entering administration, the Edinburgh team were penalised by the Scottish Football Association with a 15 point deduction.