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Mobius attacks HSBC purchase

MARK MOBIUS, president of Templeton Emerging Markets, yesterday attacked HSBC, the UK-based banking giant, over its sale of $3bn of new shares to finance its purchase of Edmond Safra's Republic New York banking empire.

Mr Mobius, a respected emerging markets commentator with a large following in Asian markets, said yesterday that he was disappointed that HSBC had opted to place the shares with institutional investors rather than going for a rights issue. This would have required HSBC to provide more information and would have ensured existing shareholders' rights were protected.

The placing was a huge success. The shares were sold in less than eight hours at pounds 21, a discount of less than 1 per cent to the market price on the day.HSBC said: "We think the way the market has reacted speaks for itself."