FINANCIAL market information firm ADVFN is trying to fend off an activist investor, which it said is attempting a hostile take-over.
Last month, ADVFN revealed it had a requisition for a general meeting in which the investor would seek to appoint an entire new board.
The requisition was made by Sweet Sky and Shellhouse, which together own just over 22 per cent of ADVFN. That has now risen to 25.71 per cent.
Advfn said it had contacted the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) over the issue, noting that in order to own more than 10 per cent of the company, permission must be sought from the financial watchdog. “Owning more than 10 per cent without such permission is a criminal offence”, the firm said, and there was “no evidence” the FCA had been approached.
In a statement to the market, ADVFN said: “Notwithstanding the view of the board that the purported requisition is an attempt to take control of ADVFN without paying a fair value for the company, the board has taken the view that it would be inappropriate to accept the requisition and convene a general meeting without a clear confirmation that prior FCA approval has been granted for the requisitioning shareholders’ interest in the company.
A company spokeswoman added: “Unknown parties have employed boiler-room style, high-pressure techniques to acquire shares from the company’s original investors. This activity has occurred off market. The story highlights how Aim companies can be vulnerable to sinister dealings… ADVFN is robust and is looking into [this].”
Neither Sweet Sky nor Shellhouse could be contacted at the time of publishing.