HEARTS’ administrator Bryan Jackson wants anyone interested in buying the club to submit an offer as soon as possible. The UK-based consortium revealed by the Evening News last week has met with BDO and put forward a cash bid. Jackson now wants others to follow suit before he can set a closing date for offers.
Gordon McKie, the former chief executive of Scottish Rugby, revealed yesterday that he is involved with the UK-based group, which is represented by Stephen Paterson of accountants Haines Watts. They sent a proposal to Ukio Bankas administrators Valnetas last Monday and met Jackon’s BDO associate Trevor Birch on Friday to lodge the offer with him.
Jackson is preoccupied with raising funds to keep Hearts going in the short term after the club entered administration last week. With more than 1000 season tickets sold since Thursday, he is on course to achieve his stated target of 3000 sales inside 14 days.
Sourcing a buyer is also high on BDO’s priority list. McKie and Paterson’s group appear to be well placed at this stage having conducted their own due diligence for several weeks. Foundation of Hearts intend to lodge an offer soon, whilst a Scandinavian consortium and an American group remain interested.
“The sooner we get bids, the sooner we can advance matters and potentially set a closing date for all bids,” said Jackson. “We are trying to get them in and the sooner we get them, the better.
“We’re producing a sales pack documentation for interested parties to give them information. There are obviously a few people who have been looking at this situation for a while so they’re in a more advanced position in terms of getting outline offers in. We haven’t set a closing date as yet, although we would like to sell as quickly as possible.
“So far we are trying to raise funds to pay some wages to people and keep them there. That’s the pressing problem right now. We do have someone who is allocated to deal with all the interested parties, so we are pursuing that at the same time. Trevor has already met with two interested parties and we’ve met with the Foundation.”
Jackson still believes it could take months for Hearts to exit administration due to the formalities which must take place. Asked about the response of fans buying season tickets and other fundraising efforts, he replied: “The figures so far look really encouraging.”
Paterson explained that his consortium are keen for Hearts to exit administration within two months, which would allow a small window for signing players before the summer transfer window closes on August 31. Clubs are prohibited from signing players whilst in administration.
“Gordon has a good grip of the numbers and we put our offer to BDO on Friday,” Paterson told the Evening News.
“We had put something to the Ukio Bankas administrators and now we’ve put money on the table with proof of funding as well. They’ve asked for bids to be in quickly. We’re also speaking with Foundation of Hearts.
“This has got to be a fairly quick process or Hearts will be unable to sign players before the end of August. That would be a big problem for anyone taking over the club.
“We have clear legal opinions which say it doesn’t have to be several months. I understand you need to go through the
various steps but we believe
it could be done in two
months. I’d argue any buyer will want the administration done and dusted within two months so they can get in and sort the team out.
“Even if they came out of
administration in the last week in August it would give us a chance, otherwise you’re
going to end up with a team of kids.”
Jamie Hamill was expected to confirm today that he will accept a wage cut along with team-mates Jamie MacDonald and Ryan Stevenson.
Kevin McHattie has offered to halve his salary, although John Sutton has yet to
Hearts’ fundraising attempts could be boosted by £100,000 soon as the club are due a development fee for Arvydas Novikovas, who has joined the German 2 Bundesliga club Erzgebirge Aue. A range of former players have donated boots and shirts, whilst the fans’ website Jambos Kickback has raised more than £23,000.
• Hearts fans can win a lunch for two with players Kevin McHattie, Dale Carrick and Jack Hamilton through Premier Sports Management International’s auction.
All bids and contact details are to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All monies will go directly to Hearts.