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Evolution mulls possible Panmure takeover

Panmure says no discussions have taken place.

September 24, 2010 9:24 by

British stockbroker and investment bank Evolution Group said it was mulling a possible acquisition of smaller rival Panmure Gordon and a decision on an approach could depend on the latter’s results.

Evolution said in a statement responding to press speculation on Thursday that it was considering a number of options, including an offer for Panmure.

But it cautioned that deliberations were at an early stage and no formal discussions had taken place.

Panmure Gordon’s shares were up around 15.5 percent but later pared gains to trade 8.6 percent higher at 31.5 pence at 1404 GMT, valuing the company at around 45.7 million pounds.

It said there had been no discussions between it and Evolution.

Evolution said it would wait for Panmure’s trading results, due on Sept. 29, before deciding whether to proceed with an approach.

Panmure Gordon guided to the difficult nature of the first half of the year in its statement.

“The first half of the year represented particularly challenging markets though we expect a bias in revenues towards the second half of the year,” said the smaller company.

Evolution, which was formed in 1999 and was one of the few independent investment banks to expand during the credit crunch, is valued at around 190 million pounds.

Oriel Securities said Panmure’s corporate clients, of which it has 64, would be attractive for Evolution and added that it did not expect Panmure’s Qatari shareholder QInvest, which has a 44 percent stake, to oppose a deal.

“The context is of course the extent of overcapacity in the broking industry coupled with the lack of volume in the market including initial public offerings which were to be the saviour this year but that has not happened,” said Oriel in a note.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Matt Scuffham and David Cowell)

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