TROUBLED stockbroker Astaire is set to revamp its ownership structure after announcing plans to distance itself from current majority shareholder Evolve Capital.
Evolve, run by stockbroking veteran Edward Vandyk, acquired Astaire – formerly Blue Oar Securities – after a bitter takeover battle at the turn of last year. The deal preceded a number of acquisitions for Astaire as Vandyk pursued an aggressive consolidation strategy, though the process was brought to an abrupt halt in May when the senior management team resigned.
Astaire released a statement to the stock exchange yesterday, admitting that there is “a considerable momentum to make a clean break from the current corporate structure”. It added that the board is in discussions with a number of parties over a change in majority ownership of the group, most likely via a share subscription.
The firm was later forced to rush out a clarification that it is not in talks over a full offer for the group and has not received any takeover approaches.
Evolve’s current 53 per cent stake would be considerably diluted in a share subscription, though Vandyk is thought to be keen to retain a significant shareholding in Astaire.
Under Vandyk, the firm has swallowed up a number of its smaller competitors, including Whim Gully Capital and St Helen’s Capital.
But it was forced to abandon a planned purchase of Hoodless Brennan after failing to secure regulatory approval.