Bob Diamond, the former chief executive of Barclays, is reportedly set to launch a takeover bid for Panmure Gordon, one of Britain's oldest stockbrokers.
Diamond's private equity firm, Atlas Merchant Capital (AMC), and QInvest, a Qatari investment bank that currently owns 43 per cent of Panmure, will create a bid vehicle to make an offer, according to Sky News.
The deal, which is expected to be announced in the coming days, will see Panmure delisted from the London stock market and taken private.
Staff at the company told City A.M. of their "total surprise" at learning of the takeover attempt tonight.
AMC could not be reached for comment.
Other Panmure investors will be able to retain part of their shareholdings but most are expected to take cash. That would leave AMC and QInvest as roughly equal owners of the firm.
Panmure’s shares closed at 59.5p yesterday, giving the firm a market value of less than £10m. But in an attempt to land one of the City’s most prestigious names, the bid could come in at around 100p-a-share according to Sky’s Mark Kleinman, who broke the story.
The move will push Diamond back into London's financial services spotlight nearly five years after he was ousted as Barclays' chief executive after the bank was hit by a mega-fine for its role in the Libor-fixing scandal.
After leaving Barclays in 2012, Diamond set up Atlas Mara, a sub-Saharan Africa-focused consolidation vehicle where he remains a non-executive director. The business has struggled amid the downturn in commodity prices which hurt the economies where Atlas Mara invests.
Panmure Gordon has suffered in recent years due to challenging market conditions, like increased regulation, fewer deals and lower corporate retainers, and speculation of a takeover has circled. Patric Johnson replaced Phillip Wale as the company's chief executive in 2016 after what he called a "tricky" year. The firm will release its 2016 financial results on 28 March.
Panmure Gordon and QInvest declined to comment.