Wednesday 13 May 2009 8:00 pm

Suitors eye up Kleinwort

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COMMERZBANK subsidiary Kleinwort Benson, one of the City’s most historic names, has whipped up interest from more than 20 trade buyers as well as up to ten private equity firms interested in backing a management buy-out.

Goldman Sachs has been putting together a sales memorandum with executives at Kleinwort Benson, which is likely to go out to interested parties next week.

Kleinwort Benson has roots dating back to the 1850s and is financial adviser to one  FTSE 100 company  and 18 FTSE 250 companies.

It also manages assets of over £21bn.

Sources close to the situation cited its book value of around £300m.

Standard Chartered and fund manager Schroders have both been rumoured to be potential buyers.

But a number of private equity firms are in a second round of talks aboutthe possibility of a management buy out (MBO).

Kleinwort Benson expects Commerzbank to consider a private equity-backed MBO offer even at a modest discount to trade bids, fearing that disgruntled executives at the unit might balk at being sold to a rival trade buyer and could walk out ahead of any sale.