Co-op hires top merchant banker to fight Lanica

Labour MPs cause furore in House of Commons with Early Day Motion denouncing 'asset-strippers'

The Co-operative Movement mobilised its defences against Andrew Regan's Lanica Trust yesterday when it hired one of the City's top merchant bankers to represent it.

The appointment of Brian Keelan of SBC Warburg came as a group of nearly 50 Labour MPs put down an Early Day Motion denouncing Mr Regan as an "asset stripper".

The motion said: "This house deplores an attempt by asset strippers, hiding behind brass plates in Monte Carlo, the West Indies and the Channel Islands, to seize the assets of the Co-operative Movement which for more than a century has served the best interests of Britain's consumers."

It urged the Bank of England, the DTI and the Stock Exchange to "halt this charade before another scandal in the City emerges".

The motion caused a furore at the House of Commons as six of the 47 signatories were Labour Co-op MPs who failed to record their interest.

The MPs said they had received no backing from the Co-op since 1992 and had not thought there was anything to declare.

The Co-op's appointment of Mr Keelan was taken in the City as a signal that the movement is taking the Lanica Trust approach seriously.

It also forges an odd union between one of the City's most aggressive, red-blooded takeover specialists and a democratic movement founded in the early nineteenth century to improve the conditions of the working man.

Another twist is that it pitches Mr Keelan on the defence side of a "bid" when he usually represents the bidder.

His past battles include representing Trafalgar House in its failed bid for Northern Electric and a failed break-up bid for National Power by the Southern Company of America.

The Co-op denied that Mr Keelan's appointment heralded a takeover bid battle.

"It is not as if we are preparing for a hostile bid. But you need merchant banking advice."

Warburg has provided the Co-op with financial advice since 1964.

Mr Keelan has been recruited to give specific advice on how it should consider the approach by Lanica's associate company, Galileo.

It is thought the Co-op is expecting Lanica to make its move in the next 10 days or disappear from the scene.

Though Lanica has secured backing of pounds 1.5bn and due diligence money of pounds 10m from City institutions such as Schroders and Perpetual, the Co-op is expecting Mr Regan to withdraw from the fray.

Lanica Trust said it was bemused by Mr Keelan's appointment.

"They keep saying the matter is closed. But if that is the case why have they appointed Warburg? It all seems rather odd."

The Co-op maintains that a break-up bid is precluded by the group's structure in which it is owned by its members - the regional societies.

The movement has its roots in Rochdale where a local warehouse became the first Co-op shop in 1934.

It grew to include supermarkets as well as a chain of funeral parlours, travel agencies, opticians and garages.

It owns the Co-operative Bank and the Co-operative Insurance Society.

It has huge farming and milk interests. It also has a manufacturing business which makes safety footwear and shirts.

The Co-op is formed of 51 regional societies, of which the largest are the Co-operative Wholesale Society, which owns the bank, and the insurance business, the Co-operative Insurance Society.

The movement's combined turnover exceeds pounds 7bn.

Comment, page 21

Sport
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Sport
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

Network Engineer (CCNA, CCNP, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£40000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNA, CCNP, Linux, OSPF,...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice