A South African asset manager has been given the green light by regulators to take a £435m stake in insurance firm Hastings.
Rand Merchant Investment Holdings (RMI) revealed plans to buy 29.9 per cent of Hastings' shares in December. Today, UK, South Africa and Gibraltar regulators rubber-stamped the deal, which is expected to complete on 1 March.
The shareholding is the maximum RMI can purchase before making a formal takeover bid and sees the investment house's chief executive, Herman Bosman, appointed to the board of the FTSE 250 insurer.
Hastings has a market capitalisation of £1.5bn and shares fell by around 0.5 per cent in the wake of the news.
The firm was bought out by management in 2009, with Goldman Sachs taking a 50 per cent stake in the then private company in 2013.
Although the Hastings listed in October 2015, two sets of founder shareholders have remained to date: management team Neil Utley, Edward Fitzmaurice, Keith Charlton, Richard Brewster and Narmali Utley; and the investment bank.
Read more: Hastings reveals first dividend since IPO
A number of the founder shareholders cashed in their positions last October as a lock-up period expired. And the move by RMI will make the asset manager the firm's largest single shareholder.
As part of the deal, one board appointee by each of the two founder shareholders will resign from their role.