The Foundation of Hearts (FoH) have been given preferred bidding status for administration hit Hearts FC.
They aim to use capital raised by the Edinburgh business community to complete the purchase via a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). So far they have received 6,700 pledges of support. Hearts owe some £28m.
Bryan Jackson, of BDO, the administrators, commented: "We all still have a lot of work to do to demonstrate to the major creditors that the bid can offer them the best possible outcome. Let's not get carried away - now is the time for everyone to get behind FoH to make this bid work. "This is a positive development but does not guarantee that a CVA will be successful. That will require a considerable combined effort from FOH and BDO to ensure that all interested parties are satisfied.
The Lithuanian investment company UBIG owns 50% of Hearts shares and, until the court makes a decision on the future of the company, no sale of Hearts can be completed.
Any deal to exit administration via a CVA must be agreed with the major creditors of the club
Lithuanian bank Ukio Bankas, itself in administration, is Hearts' other main creditor.
The Edinburgh side started the season with a 15-point deduction due to their insolvency problems, but have managed to pick up four points in their opening three Premiership games.