Kleinwort gets cold shoulder from Fosun

Michael Bow
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CITY stalwart Kleinwort Benson yesterday gave a chilly response to Chinese firm Fosun’s offer to buy the group, claiming it had shunned contact with the board before the bid.

Fosun, which bought a five per cent stake in Thomas Cook in March, is already the largest shareholder in the Brussels-listed firm, with a holding of nearly 20 per cent in parent company BHF Kleinwort Benson, but wants to buy the rest.

BHF said it only learned of the offer from Belgian regulator the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA).

“The board was not contacted by the proposed offeror prior to, nor has been contacted by them since, receiving notification from the FSMA,” the wealth management group said.

The FSMA said it had been notified of Fosun’s intentions on Friday last week.

The BHF board has formed a special sub-committee to review the offer. It has not revealed a timeline for its decision-making process.

Kleinwort Benson is the UK wealth management arm of BHF Kleinwort Benson.

Kleinwort’s old merchant bank was best known for leading the flotation of British Telecom in 1984.