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Qataris make preferred bid for Panmure

PANMURE Gordon, the 133-year-old City stockbroker, said yesterday it had conditionally raised &pound;23m via a share placing with QInvest, Qatar&rsquo;s largest investment bank.<br /><br />The firm&rsquo;s decision to accept QInvest&rsquo;s proposal came after lengthy deliberations over the merits of two further stakebuilding offers from private equity firm BlueGem and hedge fund SPQR Capital.<br /><br />Under the terms of the deal, QInvest will take a 44 per cent equity stake in Panmure at a price of 34p a share, a considerable premium to the 24p a share originally offered by BlueGem in mid-April.<br /><br />Four representatives from the Qatari bank, including chief executive Shahzad Shahbaz and co-head of principal investment Rommie Bhutani, are to join Panmure&rsquo;s board as non-executive directors.<br /><br />Panmure chief executive Tim Linacre said he had chosen QInvest&rsquo;s proposal because of the strong financial resources behind the firm, the deal price and the opportunity to grow the business going forward.<br /><br />&ldquo;No other firm of our size has broken into the Gulf, which is an area of huge capital resources and a very Western outlook,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I am all in favour of differentiating Panmure.&rdquo;<br /><br />But Linacre played down the possibility of the firm following many of its rivals into acquisition territory.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;d never say never, but I think there are great opportunities to grow the business without making acquisitions,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m keen to hire new talent, develop new business streams and explore ways to improve our current offering.&rdquo;<br /><br />Panmure, which sold a 10 per cent stake to another Middle Eastern investment bank, EFG-Hermes, in August last year, added its thanks to BlueGem and SPQR for their &ldquo;conduct and adherence to the spirit of the process&rdquo;.<br /><br /><strong>SHAHZAD SHAHBAZ, 49</strong><br /><strong>CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF QINVEST</strong><br />QInvest is Qatar&rsquo;s largest investment bank with $1bn of authorised capital and investments in the Middle East, the UK, continental Europe and the United States.<br /><br />The Shariah-compliant bank is led by Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al Thani, the son of the Qatari Prime Minister and minister of foreign affairs.<br /><br />Chief executive Shahzad Shahbaz, pictured above, is a UK national with almost three decades of banking experience, including a long stint at Bank of America, where he was first head of the emerging markets business and then head of investment banking for the EMEA region. He also previously spent two years as chief executive of Emirates NBD Investment Bank, building up the regional banking, asset management and private equity business.<br /><br />Outside the Middle East, QInvest, which counts among its major shareholders Qatar Islamic Bank and Gulf Finance House, is keen to snap up deals in the financial services and property sectors in the US and Europe, where valuations have hit rock-bottom amid the current economic crisis.<br /><br />Its most high-profile investment in the UK is an 80 per cent stake in the Shard of Glass, the London Bridge skyscraper project currently under construction. <!--EndFragment-->