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Football | Europe

John McGlynn © Action Images

Hearts reject takeover offer



Cash-strapped Scottish Cup holders Hearts have rejected a takeover offer from the former owner of Livingston, saying Italian businessman Angelo Massone "may not be the right person to take the club forward".

However, majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov is prepared to discuss selling Hearts after first investing in the Edinburgh club in 2005.

A statement on the Scottish Premier League club's official website, www.heartsfc.co.uk, said Monday: "Heart of Midlothian FC can today reveal that it has rejected a bid from businessman Angelo Massone to buy the club.

"The offer was received last week but the board feels the Italian may not be the right person to take the club forward."

Massone's 12 months in charge at Livingston from June 2008 saw the club placed into administration and ejected from the Scottish Football League's First Division to the bottom tier.

Hearts made reference to Massone's previous involvement in the Scottish game, with a spokesman saying: "We are aware of Mr Massone's previous involvement in the game in Scotland and the board has decided not to pursue his offer any further. In the view of the board, the bid he made also undervalued the club.

"Vladimir Romanov remains willing to discuss the sale of Hearts to anyone with a genuine interest, and ability, to take the club forward.

"Bidders will need to provide a financial offer to reflect the value of the club, be fit to run it as required by the Scottish FA and disclose their plans going forward.

"They will also have to provide guarantees for Hearts' future to ensure the successful duration of the business of the club."

Last week Hearts rejected an offer from the Foundation of Hearts, whose aim is supporter ownership.

That took place on the same day a deal was agreed between Hearts and British tax authorities to extend a deadline over a payment of £450 000.

Hearts have until December 3 to make the payment in two parts.

Prior to that extension being granted it had been feared last Saturday's 1-0 Scottish Premier League clash with St Mirren could be the club's final match in its 138-year history.

However, supporters responded to please for support with cash, be it through ticket purchases or donations with the club involved in a separate £1.75million tax dispute.

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