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Hearts closer to exiting administration

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Hearts should be out of administration before the end of April after a deal to transfer shares to prospective owners Foundation of Hearts was finalised. The club’s administrators, BDO, confirmed today that Ukio Bankas Investment Group (UBIG) have formally agreed to hand over their 50 per cent stake, pending legal approval in Lithuania.

A price of around £50,000 was recently agreed for UBIG to transfer their shareholding in Hearts to the Foundation. The deal has now been finalised, with BDO acting as the middle man, allowing a sale and purchase agreement to be signed and put before the courts.

Foundation of Hearts already have a Creditors’ Voluntary Arrangement in place to secure another 29.9 per cent of shares in the Edinburgh club from Ukio Bankas. The CVA, worth £2.5million to the Lithuanian bank’s administrators, is conditional upon the Foundation getting UBIG’s 50 per cent stake. BDO have now struck a deal with UBIG that allows the fans’ umbrella group to press ahead with their takeover.

Provided the transfer of UBIG’s shares is ratified in the Lithuanian courts, Hearts will be able to exit administration. BDO have given a timescale of eight to ten weeks for the full takeover to be completed.

Bryan Jackson, joint administrator of Hearts and a business restructuring partner with BDO, told BBC Scotland: "From day one, I always thought procuring the shares was going to be the biggest obstacle. So, to me, it's a really big step. This is very welcome news. We are edging closer to getting the club out of administration and we are now talking about when rather than if. I think it takes us from 50% of the obstacles overcome to probably 75%."

Hearts, who are 17 points adrift at the foot of the Scottish Premiership, entered administration on 19 June with debts close to £30m and started this season with a 15-point deduction.