Battle for fund manager River and Mercantile goes into extra time

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Battle for fund manager River and Mercantile goes into extra time as deadline for tabling offers is extended


The battle for fund manager River and Mercantile (R&M) will stretch into next year after the deadline for tabling a formal offer was extended.

The firm is in talks with City veteran Martin Gilbert and rival bidder Premier Miton amid a wave of consolidation in the industry.

Both Gilbert and Premier Miton had until 5pm yesterday to launch a firm offer. But with talks between the R&M board and both suitors ongoing, the takeover panel extended the deadline to 5pm, January 18.

Takeover battle: Fund manager River and Mercantile  is in talks with City veteran Martin Gilbert (pictured) and rival bidder Premier Miton amid a wave of consolidation in the industry

Takeover battle: Fund manager River and Mercantile  is in talks with City veteran Martin Gilbert (pictured) and rival bidder Premier Miton amid a wave of consolidation in the industry

‘There can be no certainty that a firm offer will be made,’ R&M said. Gilbert is seeking to buy R&M through his investment vehicle Asset Co.

The 66-year-old father of three is both chairman of Asset Co and deputy chairman of R&M. 

He is also chairman of Revolut, Toscafund and Scottish Golf, and senior non-executive director at Glencore. 

Schroders green deal

Asset management giant Schroders has struck a £358million deal to take control of renewable investor Greencoat Capital.

The FTSE 100 firm’s shares rose 3.1 per cent, or 105p, to 3480p after it took a 75 per cent stake in Greencoat, one of Europe’s largest renewable infrastructure managers, with £6.7billion of assets. Schroders said it has a shared ambition to be a global leader in green investment.

It said the deal will ‘significantly enhance’ Greencoat’s growth, and boost its distribution reach and management experience. Greencoat will be known as Schroders Greencoat.   

He has recused himself from the R&M board for the purposes of talks relating to the potential bid. 

Asset Co, which specialises in buying and operating wealth managers, already owns a 5.85 per cent stake in R&M.

The swoop comes nearly four decades after Gilbert set up Aberdeen Asset Management. 

He built it into a giant with more than £300billion of savings on its books before merging it with Standard Life in 2017. 

He stepped down last year, and took control of stock market-listed cash shell Asset Co. 

It has secured three acquisitions – including the takeover of Edinburgh investment house Saracen Fund Managers – and raised £25million from investors.

Asset managers are bulking up to fight off rivals running cheaper passive, or index-tracking, funds. 

‘Asset Co said the extension ‘should allow sufficient time to finalise a potential offer’.

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