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SBD Global/July 30, 2013/Franchises

Scottish Premier League Club Heart Of Midlothian Once Again Under Liquidation Threat

The administrator in charge of Ukio Bankas has told Scottish Premier League Heart of Midlothian administrators BDO that "three bids lodged for the club are unacceptable, and warned the club would be liquidated unless the offers are improved," according to Andy Newport of the SCOTSMAN. The Lithuanian bank is owed £15M ($23M) by Hearts, but its administrator Gintaras Adomonis "has issued the grave threat to BDO, the trouble-shooters now running the Edinburgh club after they were also placed into administration." Adomonis has now told BDO "to continue negotiation with fans’ group the Foundation of Hearts and Five Stars Football Ltd., which lists controversial former Livingston Owner Angelo Massone among its directors." A third offer placed by HMFC Ltd. "has been rejected outright." If the negotiations fail, Ukio Bankas "will initiate the process of liquidating Hearts" (SCOTSMAN, 7/29).

BAD TIMING: The Scotland DAILY RECORD reported the news "will cause panic, not only at the club, but among the ranks of the new Scottish Professional Football League" -- with the start of the new season just days away. Adomonis said, "I can repeat that we are doing everything we can to save the club functioning. However, I am obliged to protect solely the interests of Ukio bankas and its creditors" (DAILY RECORD, 7/29). The PA reported Ukio Bankas holds a 29.9% shareholding in Hearts and "has a floating charge on Tynecastle as security against the money it is owed." Meanwhile, Kaunas-based investment firm UBIG is owed a further £10M ($15.3M) by the club. It owns a 50% stake. Both companies "were once controlled by former Hearts Owner Vladimir Romanov but are now insolvent" (PA, 7/29).
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