Investec bid for Evolution gets yes vote

SHAREHOLDERS of broker-turned-wealth manager Evolution Group voted firmly in favour of its sale to South African investment group Investec yesterday despite concerns over the real price of the deal.

Nearly 95 per cent of shareholders that chose to vote gave the takeover the green light, despite a ten per cent drop in the value of the deal to £210m, from £233m when it was announced in September. The all-share offer was worth £1 per share, but has now slipped to about 90p.

The falling value of the deal had raised the ire of Evolution’s biggest shareholder Aberforth Partners, which pulled its support for the deal when it slumped to as low as 82p per share last week.

But Andy Brough, fund manager at Schroders, which holds about eight per cent of Evolution, told City A.M. a revival in Investec’s price this week meant the deal now looked better than many had anticipated.

“It feels like we are leaving the party with a balloon,” he said – while the other shareholders “maybe went home with a slightly prettier girl than they expected.”

Only 56 per cent of Evolution’s shareholders voted either for or against the offer at the general meeting, though, while 12 investors withheld their votes completely.

Evolution’s chief executive Alex Snow will now take a seat on Investec’s board and become executive chairman of its UK investment bank.