Hearts to complete fan ownership transition by end of August

Ann Budge will transfer her majority shareholding to the Foundation of Hearts on 30 August
Ann Budge will transfer her majority shareholding to the Foundation of Hearts on 30 August

Hearts will become a fan-owned club on 30 August when majority shareholder Ann Budge transfers her stake to the Foundation of Hearts.

The group - which takes pledges from supporters - will become the chief shareholder at the end of the month once formalities have been completed.

It follows the repayment of £2.5m to Budge after she provided cash to save Hearts from liquidation in 2014.

Foundation chairman Stuart Wallace called it a "truly historic day".

He added: "The handover has been delayed by the pandemic but the legal details will shortly be completed and we can look forward to Heart of Midlothian becoming the largest fan-owned football club in the country."

For now Budge will remain as chair of the club, though she has already ceded day-to-day responsibilities to chief executive Andrew McKinlay.

The Foundation has already provided around £10m of investment in Hearts.

"Being the majority shareholder of any company brings with it great responsibility," Budge said. "I have shouldered that responsibility willingly for over seven years, supported every step of the way by the Foundation of Hearts.

"It will now be my great pleasure, in turn, to support the Foundation as they now take on that mantle."

Hearts returned to the Scottish Premiership last season after winning the second tier, and had a 100% domestic record this term until Sunday's League Cup defeat by Celtic.

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