Crucial day looms for Hearts administration hopes

HEARTS are hoping to take a major step towards exiting administration next Friday when UBIG’s eagerly-awaited creditors meeting takes place.

The 'second most important day' in Hearts' history. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The Tynecastle club need the creditors to agree to release the 50 per cent shareholding that is held by the collapsed Lithuanian investment company for a token fee of around £50,000. The transfer of the stake to new owner-in-waiting Ann Budge’s holding company (BIDCO) is regarded as one of the last significant hurdles to overcome in what has been a complex and protracted administration process. UBIG agreed to hand over the shareholding at the beginning of February but that decision has to be ratified by their creditors.

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Millionaire businesswoman and Hearts season-ticket holder Budge is personally funding the £2.5 million for Ukio Bankas’ 29.9 per cent stake.

Former Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov’s fallen bank was due £15.5 million of the club’s total £28.5 million arrears and also held Tynecastle stadium as a security against its debt. UBIG, another of Romanov’s former companies, were owed £8.2 million. But even if Hearts’ administrators BDO get the result they are looking for next Friday, it could still be a matter of weeks before Budge is handed control at Tynecastle.

Behind the scenes, it is thought that mid-April is the earliest time that the new owner could take over. Budge is set to manage Hearts for a minimum of five years before handing over the majority shareholding to the Foundation of Hearts, who are backed by over 8,000 supporters making monthly direct debit contributions.