Hearts Share Issue Raises More than $1.6M, Saves Club From Liquidation
Scottish Premier League Heart of Midlothian Dir Sergejus Fedotovas announced that the "threat of liquidation no longer hangs over" the club after more than £1M ($1.6M) was raised through the club’s share issue, according to Barry Anderson of the SCOTSMAN. Fedotovas thanked supporters for "a phenomenal effort," which took the final total beyond £1M following a late surge in sales of shares this week. Fedotovas said that he had "never encountered such a level of commitment from football fans before." More than 4,000 people bought shares, meaning Hearts are "no longer in danger of going bust." More than 50% of shares offered have been taken up. The Hearts' initial aim was to raise £1.79M ($2.91M). The fact they have surpassed £1M is "being considered a huge success" (SCOTSMAN, 12/20).
UNKNOWN PLANS: In Edinburgh, Stuart Bathgate noted it remains to be seen how Hearts Owner Vladimir Romanov "interprets the uptake of shares." However, it is already clear that without the money raised, the club "would have been in a severe, possibly terminal, position." Romanov, who put Hearts up for sale late last year, has "appeared to be increasingly unable to fund the club as a going concern." As a result, it is "uncertain where Hearts will find the half-million due next spring." However, the money "raised by fans has taken them a large part of the way toward meeting their running costs for the rest of the season." In spite of the "remarkable amount" that has been raised, Romanov has "yet to clarify his plans in the longer term." The share offer document said Hearts’ directors are “committed to the development of a state-of-the-art football stadium befitting of a top European club.” However, with Romanov still committed to selling, there is "no realistic prospect of such a development taking place soon" (SCOTSMAN, 12/20).