Morisons and HBJ Gateley lead advice on Hearts administration

Morisons Solicitors and HBJ Gateley have been appointed to advise on the administration of Edinburgh football club Heart of Midlothian FC.

Peter Duff
Peter Duff

A notice was lodged to put the club into administration yesterday (19 June) after wrangling between Lithuanian parent company UBIG, which was pushing for BDO administrators to be appointed, and the club’s management, which preferred KPMG.

BDO partner trio Bryan Jackson, James Stephen and Trevor Birch were ultimately appointed to handle the case. They are being advised by Edinburgh and Glasgow firm Morisons, which has fielded a team led by Glasgow-based corporate partner Peter Duff with assistance from solicitor Keith Anderson.

HBJ Gateley is acting for the club’s management, with a team led by Edinburgh insolvency and disputes partner Simon Catto.

Baltic firm Tark Grunte Sutkiene is also advising the administrators, led by Vilnius insolvency partner Vidmantas Drizga with associate partner Deimantė Korsakaitė.

Background to this deal:

The news follows Rangers FC’s administration and later liquidation last year, in which the Glasgow club’s former law firm, Collyer Bristow, became embroiled in conspiracy claims in relation to a former partner’s role in Craig Whyte’s 2011 takeover of the club (6 November 2012). The administrators instructed Taylor Wessing restructuring partners Nick Moser and Neil Smyth to pursue the £25m damages claim. However, BDO did not use Taylor Wessing for the litigation and instead instructed Stephenson Harwood for English law and Brodies for Scottish law matters.

According to HBJ Gateley’s website, Catto represented a Scottish football club in two recent disciplinary processes. He also reportedly acted for Rangers players Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker during their objection to joining the Rangers newco following the original club’s demise.