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Partners poised for windfall

Rathbone in takeover talks with Speirs & Jeffrey

Jim Pettigrew
Jim Pettigrew

Ten partners at Scottish stockbroker Speirs & Jeffrey are in line for multi-million pound windfalls after wealth manager Rathbone Brothers confirmed it was in talks about a takeover of the Glasgow business.

Rathbone said in a statement this morning that it “regularly assesses various acquisition opportunities in line with its stated strategy and accordingly confirms that discussions between Rathbones and Speirs & Jeffrey in relation to a possible acquisition of Speirs & Jeffrey by Rathbones are taking place.”

It added that “no binding offer had been made and there can be no certainty that any binding offer will be made nor that agreement will be reached with the board and shareholders of Speirs & Jeffrey”.

It was reported over the weekend that Rathbone, whose directors include Scottish Financial Enterprise and Clydesdale Bank group chairman Jim Pettigrew, was revisiting a sale of the business along with private equity partner Permira.

Codenamed ‘Project Argus”, the sale of Speirs & Jeffrey could provide a payout of £20 million for each of its ten partners. Its highest paid director, believed to be chief executive Russell Crichton, earned £490,000 last year.

Founded in 1906, the stockbroker and investment manager posted revenues of £25.3m and pre-tax profits of £9m for the year to 10 May.

It manages around £5.5bn of assets for individuals, families, trusts, charities and pension funds.

The business is understood to have appointed advisers at Spencer House Partners, an M&A boutique founded in 2006, to help it find a buyer.

Last summer Rathbone was in talks to buy rival Smith & Williamson and create a  new force in the sector with £56 billion of assets under administration.  The proposed merger valued Smith & Williamson at £600 million.

But Rathbones, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, announced at the end of August that the deal had been aborted and that it would take a £5m hit to costs.



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