DCSIMG

Lawyers pushing for Hearts takeover deal

Heart look to be edging ever closer to a takeovoer deal. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Heart look to be edging ever closer to a takeovoer deal. Picture: Ian Rutherford

  • by IAIN COLLIN AND JONATHAN COATES
 

Four sets of lawyers were last night locked in tense and intricate negotiations as Hearts edged closer to a successful takeover.

It was confirmed yesterday that Sunday’s deadline for Ubig’s creditors to object to the release of their near 50 per cent shareholding in the Tynecastle club had come and gone without opposition being lodged.

The passing of the 20-day cooling-off period has cleared the way for Ann Budge’s Bidco to try and secure a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) that would allow the club to finally come out of administration. It is hoped a deal can be struck by the end of next week, allowing Budge to sign a management contract with administrators BDO enabling the millionaire businesswoman to take over the day-to-day running of the Gorgie outfit ahead of a formal exit from administration.

However, sources close to the ongoing negotiations have described talks involving lawyers for Budge, BDO, Ubig and Ukio Bankas, who have agreed a £2.5 million company voluntary arrangement (CVA), as frustratingly “stop-start”.

Progress is being made but, with BDO’s finances due to run out within days, it is understood there remains the prospect that “other options” would have to be looked at if an SPA cannot be reached by next Friday.

Ukio Bankas’ decision earlier this month to give the CVA the go-ahead in exchange for their security over Tynecastle and nearly 30 per cent of shares, and Ubig’s agreement to pass on their unsecured stake in the club for a fee of around £70,000, were hailed as massive steps towards the club coming out of administration. However, it is clear that the complexities of trying to strike a deal with the lawyers of two Lithuanian companies, who themselves are in administration, means there remain some anxious days ahead if the future of Hearts is to be secured.

BT Sport Q&A: Rangers | Hibs | Neil Lennon

THIS week’s BT Sport video Q&A looks at whether Rangers fans will buy season tickets and if the club’s supporters will force a change of ownership.

The form of Hibs under Terry Butcher is also examined following the Easter Road side’s derby defeat while the future of Neil Lennon is also considered following the announcement that his assistant Johan Mjallby is to depart at the end of the season.

Email your Scottish football question for the BT Sport panel to answer. The next show will be recorded on May 7 after St Johnstone v Celtic with the video available on The Scotsman website the following day. You can also tweet us @TheScotsman.

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