Channel veteran Ann Budge on verge of Hearts takeover

Channel entrepreneur Ann Budge, who sold her business Newell & Budge to Sopra in 2005, is poised to become chairwoman of Scottish premiership side Hearts in a £2.5m deal

Channel entrepreneur and veteran industry businesswoman Ann Budge is set to be on the verge of signing a £2.5m deal to rescue Scottish premiership side Heart of Midlothian from administration, according to The Scotsman.

Budge netted £40m in 2005 when she sold the services company she co-founded, Newell & Budge, to French IT services, outsourcing and systems integration powerhouse Sopra.

A deal was agreed in principle last week for Budge’s vehicle BIDCO 1874 to buy the 78.97% share of Hearts currently owned by bankrupt Lithuanian bank UBIG on behalf of fan group Foundation of Hearts (FoH).

On completion Budge – a long-term season ticket holder at the Edinburgh club – will become chairwoman with the intent of transferring control of Hearts to FoH within three to five years, subject to necessary requirements, which include an immediate £1m cash injection for working capital and the payment of over £500,000 of debt that will be needed if Hearts is to retain its Scottish FA licence, said the paper.

Hearts fell into administration last summer, owing £25m, after a string of financial problems caused it to run out of capital.

The Scotsman reported an FoH spokesman said the club was not out of the woods yet.

“It is vital supporters understand it is likely £6m needs to be raised over a five-year period to achieve the objectives of saving the club over the long term and moving into supporter ownership,” he said.

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