Evolution’s finance boss quits amid takeover talk

EVOLUTION Group lost its finance director and reappointed one of its former non-executives to its board yesterday amid signs that a takeover bid for the firm was progressing.

Andrew Westenberger, the group’s finance director for almost two and a half years, resigned with immediate effect and with no explanation or an immediate successor.

But Evolution said Lord Ian MacLaurin, the former Tesco chief executive and Vodafone chairman, had rejoined its board after leaving only in May after eight years as senior non-executive director.

Sources across the City expressed regret at Westenberger’s departure but said it was unsurprising in the context of Evolution’s takeover offer from Investec.

Investec proposed takeover talks at the start of August and is expected to table a formal bid of about 100p per share next week. It has until 3 September to make a formal offer, according to Takeover Panel rules.

Westenberger, the former global chief operating officer for Barclays Capital Private Equity, was likely to have been left jobless by the deal.

“The situation probably highlighted some strategic differences between him and other management,” one source told City A.M.

Evolution’s shares closed at 82.5p.

TIME LINE | EVOLUTION GROUP

June 2003
Evolution Group floats in London

June 2006
Acquires Williams De Broë Plc.

October 2008
Acquires Singer & Friedlander Investment Management.

October 2010
Bid proposal for Panmure Group rejected.

19 July 2011
Announces interest in buying BNP Paribas Private Investment Management.

4 August 2011
South African investment bank Investec makes an initial bid approach for Evolution Group.

8 August 2011
Reaches agreement on BNP Paribas bid, helping beef up its Williams De Broë arm.