SERGEJUS FEDOTOVAS today advised anyone interested in owning Hearts to put forward their proposals and make their intentions clear as the race to buy the Edinburgh club gathers pace.
The Lithuanian director is discussing the potential sale of Hearts with several parties and wants to hear formal offers before escalating talks with Vladimir Romanov, who wishes to sell his majority shareholding in the club.
Romanov wants a substantial fee, possibly in excess of £10 million, for his stake and has already dismissed Angelo Massone’s £4.5m bid and a £450,000 offer from Foundation of Hearts. Fedotovas is vetting interested parties on Romanov’s behalf and believes a sale could be completed by the summer.
Businessmen in Scotland, England and abroad have been in touch declaring an interest in taking control of Hearts, but Fedotovas now wants to see the colour of their money before beginning serious talks with Romanov.
“What happens now depends very much on the interested parties,” Fedotovas told the Evening News. “They will have to consider all the details, they will have to make up their minds, they will have to source their funding and they will have to prepare everything.
“There are various people – foreign people, local people, English people. We are not speaking about one consortium, we are speaking about several parties who are interested. I don’t want to put a number on it. I haven’t met all of the people in all of the consortia. I’ve met with representatives.
“I would say that there are more parties coming forward as time goes on. In the initial stages, I am in contact with people. In the later stages, it will be Mr Romanov and his office getting involved as well. We are doing the introductory stages and when developments take place then Mr Romanov will be involved in the later stages.”
The collapse of Ukio Bankas has left certain aspects of any sale open to question, specifically what may happen to the debt Hearts owe the Lithuanian bank which is now declared insolvent. Most of the club’s £22m debt is owed to parent company Ukio Bankas Investment Group, which is a separate entity, and the club have stressed that Ukio Bankas’ problems will have little impact at Tynecastle.
“There are various options, it is too early to consider what happens to the debt,” added
Fedotovas. “Any interested party has to consider the situation, then the talks will happen.”
Meanwhile, Hearts defender Darren Barr has an outside chance of facing Inverness this Saturday despite being stretchered off against Kilmarnock last weekend with a nasty head injury. “The situation is much better than we had anticipated,” explained manager John McGlynn. “The doctor is very positive about Darren, so much so that he could be in contention for the Inverness game. Darren will continue to be assessed daily, but no risks will be taken with him.”
• Hearts Under-20s drew 1-1 with Kilmarnock at Riccarton last night. Ross Davidson opened the scoring in the first half before Gordon Smith struck a late equaliser for Hearts.