City brokers ready to swoop to buy up rival KBC Peel Hunt

INDEPENDENT City brokerages are circling KBC Peel Hunt after the stockbroking and corporate finance firm&rsquo;s Belgian banking owner KBC put the division up for sale last month.<br /><br />Collins Stewart, Numis and Panmure Gordon are all understood to have given careful consideration to the idea of buying the firm, while the most likely buyer is thought to be Evolution, led by chief executive Alex Snow.<br /><br />KBC Peel Hunt chief executive Simon Haynes is also mulling leading a management buyout, though sources suggest the division&rsquo;s reliance on its capital-intensive trading capabilities might make it difficult to garner any private equity support.<br /><br />The firm&rsquo;s parent KBC is currently mulling over the sale of various foreign and fringe assets, after borrowing around &euro;7bn (&pound;6.6bn) from the Belgian government.<br /><br />The struggling bank originally bought Peel Hunt, a renowned City stockbroking name, after it was floated on the Alternative Investment Market (Aim) in 2000, in a deal valuing the company at &pound;218.5m. However, the division is not thought likely to fetch anywhere near that price if it is sold in the near future.<br />