The fight by BC Partners and Pollen Street Capital to acquire challenger bank Shawbrook is not over yet, as the consortium is stubbornly stuck under the minimum acceptance threshold ahead of a Monday deadline.
The pair of private equity firms today announced that they had gained 46.6 per cent of Shawbrook's shares, having persuaded a further fraction of shareholders to sell up.
The consortium is so near, and yet so far. It must reach a minimum acceptance threshold of 50 per cent plus one by 1pm on Monday, or 75 per cent to take the bank private.
It does hold “letters of intent” in support of the offer from shareholders representing another 0.2 per cent of shares, which would take their total to 47 per cent.
But unless there is a surge in shareholders taking up the offer over the weekend, BC and Pollen Street's takeover attempt looks set to flop.
A last-minute surge may be more likely than it seems, as shareholders will often wait until the offer deadline is due to expire before committing.
This nail-biting finish comes as the consortium launched a formal bid for Shawbrook at the end of March, valuing the bank at £842m (or £825m minus the share capital which was to be issued).
Previous private talks between the two firms and Shawbrook's board had fallen through, since the board believed BC and Pollen Street's offer undervalued their business.
With the takeover offer, which Shawbrook refused to recommend, BC and Pollen Street were bypassing the board to appeal directly to shareholders.
Yet shareholders seemed unconvinced. When the bidders decided to up their offer by 10p per share, valuing the bank at £868m, they had still only received acceptances representing 6.6 per cent of the shares.
On top of the 38.8 per cent which Pollen Street already owned, this brought their total to just under 46 per cent.
Shawbrook's shares are currently down 0.5 per cent at 338.3p.