Panmure deal gets go-ahead

SHAREHOLDERS in City stockbroking firm Panmure Gordon have given a resounding show of support to an equity stake-building proposal from QInvest, Qatar&rsquo;s largest investment bank, as they voted 99 per cent in favour of the deal at a general meeting yesterday.<br /><br />Panmure said in May it had conditionally raised &pound;23m via the share placing agreement, under which the Qataris will take a 44 per cent stake in the firm at a price of 34p a share.<br /><br />Four QInvest executives, including chief executive Shahzad Shahbaz, are to join Panmure&rsquo;s board as non-executive directors.<br /><br />Panmure chief executive Tim Linacre said the firm would use the deal to take advantage of opportunities in the Gulf, an area in which its City competitors have very little clout. Panmure sold a 10 per cent stake to another Middle Eastern investment bank, EFG-Hermes, in August last year.<br /><br />&ldquo;I am delighted with the overwhelming support shown by both our institutional and smaller shareholders,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;There is an awful lot of work to be done, but I&rsquo;m tremendously excited about this opportunity for the firm.&rdquo;<br /><br />The decision to accept QInvest&rsquo;s proposal came after Panmure spent months deliberating over rival proposals from private equity firm BlueGem and hedge fund SPQR Capital.<br /><br />QInvest is chaired by Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Bin Jabr Al Thani, the son of the Qatari Prime Minister and minister of foreign affairs. Its most high-profile investment in the UK is an 80 per cent stake in the Shard of Glass, the London Bridge skyscraper currently under construction.