Investec bids for Evolution

SOUTH African asset management group Investec confirmed it was the mystery bidder for City broker and wealth manager Evolution Group yesterday.

Evolution sparked a flurry of speculation on Wednesday when it said it had received an early stage takeover approach, with banks such as Societe Generale and Royal Bank of Canada named as potential acquirers.

Evolution did not specify whether the interest was unsolicited, but said the potential buyer was interested in taking over the entire group.

Investec’s managing director Bernard Kantor said the approach should be taken seriously.

“We don’t put in letters of intention flippantly,” he told City A.M., but said it had not yet hired advisers.

Kantor added that Investec was interested in Evolution’s fast-growing wealth management arm Williams de Broe. “We understand the business [of wealth management], which would be of some interest,” he said.

Evolution is in late stage talks with BNP Paribas to buy its private client business, part of its wealth management arm, to bolster Williams de Broe.