Canadian group swoops for F&C with £700m bid

 
Michael Bow
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ONE OF Britain’s oldest investment companies is on the brink of being sold to Canada’s fourth biggest bank in a £700m takeover deal.

F&C Asset Management, which runs the 145-year-old Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust, yesterday said the Bank of Montreal had tabled a 120p a share offer for the firm which it was likely to recommend to shareholders.

The offer is a 28 per cent premium to the close price of F&C shares on Friday night.

Top shareholders such as Aviva, Standard Life and Threadneedle Investment owner Ameriprise Financial will also be entitled to their 2p a share dividend for the full year. Yesterday’s announcement caused F&C shares to spike nearly 28 per cent before falling back a little to close below the takeover price at 116.4p

Numis’ David McCann said the 120p a share offer was low given F&C’s earnings potential this year and that a counter bid was “not impossible”.

JP Morgan Cazenove banker John Mayne, Dwayne Lysaght and Mike Collar are advising F&C chief executive Richard Wilson on the bidding.

If completed, the deal will bring to an end a turbulent period in F&C’s history, which saw activist investor Ed Bramson take control of the company as chairman in 2011 before selling out his stake and leaving the company last year.