Leek United spurns offer

JOHN REDWOOD, the Tory trade spokesman who failed in his bid to lead the Party, was disappointed again yesterday when the Staffordshire- based building society Leek United rejected his company's second offer to buy the business.

Mr Redwood is a director of Murray Financial Corporation, a group set up last year to acquire building societies and life assurance firms. So far, Murray has not managed to buy anything, although it says it has had talks with several societies.

Murray first approached Leek's board two weeks ago, but was told the building society wished to remain independent. Murray then offered Leek's chairman a position on its board, but to no avail. The bid values the building society at pounds 30.5m.

Leek said yesterday: "Having examined the offer carefully, the board has decided, unanimously, to reject it because it is not in the interests of members of the society."

Murray's chief executive, Kenneth Murray, disagrees. Under the terms of his proposal, the society's members would receive pounds 950 windfalls once the acquisition was complete. A spokesman for Mr Murray said it would be "arrogant" of Leek's board not to offer its members the chance to vote. He also said he expects 100 of Leek's investors, the minimum number required to demand a vote, to come forward once they learn of their board's decision.