Canaccord on stand-by for Evolution bid

CANACCORD Financial, the Canadian financial services group, was waiting on the sidelines yesterday as Investec’s £200m-plus all-share takeover of Evolution Group hit problems.

Canaccord pulled out of the bidding last month, leaving Investec as preferred bidder.

Under Takeover Panel rules Canaccord is barred from relaunching a takeover for six months but yesterday those close to the process said the firm might be allowed to bid again if Investec’s bid failed to gain support at next week’s shareholder meeting.

Investec’s bid was thrown into confusion after Evolution’s biggest investor, fund manager Aberforth, unexpectedly pulled its support.

The about-turn sparked fears that others could follow suit and Investec’s offer, which requires 75 per cent of investors to vote for it, could fail.

Aberforth is understood to be unhappy that Investec’s share price has fallen 11 per cent since it made the share offer, cutting its value by a fifth.

“They don’t want to sell at that price,” one source told City A.M. “It is not a price you would sell assets at.”

Other major investors are known to be considering withdrawing their support. Share options granted to Evolution chief executive Alex Snow just days before bid talks were revealed also caused some unease.

Andy Brough at Schroders told City A.M. Investec’s bid remained the only one on the table. “At the end of the party you don’t always go home with the prettiest girl,” he said.