Arden gets offer to go private

David Hellier
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SMALL company broker Arden Partners has received a £9m bid approach from a former director, as tough market conditions spur consolidation among many of the UK’s smaller investment banks.

Arden said former non-executive director Grahame Whateley had made a preliminary cash offer of 37p per share for Arden, representing a one-pence premium to the company’s last closing share price.

Whateley, who has a private business empire, was one of the original founders of Arden and is said to be close to chief executive Jonathan Keeling. He is keen on horseracing and skiing, while his wife is a racing horse owner.

Arden said that while trading in the first four months of its financial year had been satisfactory, it had an uncertain outlook for the second-half of the year.

The bid to take the group private comes as the smaller company advisory sector undergoes massive structural change, with firms merging or closing. Lord Flight chairs the group.