A group of rebel GAM shareholders trying to block the firm’s takeover by Liontrust has called on Swiss regulators to step in and prevent “deceptive” and “misleading information” being spread about its own offer.
Ailing Swiss fund manager GAM has recommended its shareholders accept a £96m bid from London-listed investor Liontrust but the takeover has been met with stiff resistance from a shareholder group.
The group of investors calling itself NewGAMe, backed by tycoon Xavier Niel, has campaigned against the deal and last week launched its own partial cash offer for the firm.
In a fresh update today, NewGAMe has called on the Swiss Takeover Board (TOB) to step in and prevent GAM from “spreading misleading information about the merits of NewGAMe’s partial cash tender offer”.
“GAM states that the NewGAMe offer includes ‘a highly questionable condition that NewGAMe gets full control of the GAM Board’ and “requires change of control approvals from various regulators”,’ NewGAMe said in a statement.
“What GAM does not say is that the Liontrust offer is subject to similar conditions.”
The group claims that GAM has also alleged the takeover board will “need to rule on whether NewGAMe’s offer complies with the Swiss takeover rules and that the timeline for doing so is unknown”.
“This statement is deceptive. Its purpose is to instill doubt about the legality of NewGAMe’s offer, even though there is no basis for such a claim,” NewGAMe said.
“The TOB will have to rule on the conformity of the NewGAMe offer, just as it would for any tender offer for a Swiss listed company.”
Liontrust, GAM and the TOB have not raised questions about the legality of the NewGAMe offer, the group added.
“There is also no reason why such questions would be raised for a relatively simple and straightforward transaction.”
NewGAMe has opposed the takeover on the grounds it undervalues the firm and contained a clause on the disposal of the fund management services business which could harm shareholders.
After a bruising back and forth, Liontrust yesterday scrapped the clause and extend the takeover deadline by three days.
The group hit back with a proposal to buy some 28m GAM shares, representing around 17.5 per cent of the firm’s issued share capital, at 49p per share.
GAM declined to comment.