Barclays ex-CEO Bob Diamond teams up with Qataris to buy London brokerage Panmure Gordon

Mr Diamond, 65, who stepped down from Barclays in 2012, has signalled a growing interest in pursuing bank takeovers in Europe in recent years

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Bob Diamond is returning to London’s financial centre with a takeover of brokerage Panmure Gordon to build a boutique investment bank.

The former Barclays chief executive’s Atlas Merchant Capital and Qatari investment bank QInvest agreed to take the 141-year-old stockbroker for £15.5m in an all cash deal, according to a statement on Friday. QInvest is already Panmure’s biggest shareholder.

Mr Diamond, 65, who stepped down from Barclays in 2012, has signalled a growing interest in pursuing bank takeovers in Europe in recent years, saying there are “terrific” opportunities as the region’s largest firms retrench.

Such purchases mark a shift for Mr Diamond, who previously focused on acquiring African banks through his Atlas Mara vehicle, which is separate from the Atlas Merchant private equity firm he set up at the end of 2013.

The firms aim to “build a larger, successful boutique investment bank,” Matthew Hansen, head of UK and Europe for Atlas, said in a statement.

“This long-term stabilisation and development can only realistically be achieved as a private company, out of the glare of the public market and the effects of share price movement.”

The offer is a 68 per cent premium over Panmure’s closing price on Thursday. The brokerage’s independent directors unanimously endorsed the deal.

 

Panmure CEO Patric Johnson has sought to restore his firm to steady profits since he was put in charge in February 2016. The company drew takeover interest last year from Mehmet Dalman, the former investment banker and chairman of Welsh football club Cardiff City, The Sunday Times reported in August. Panmure’s stock has climbed 3.5 per cent so far in 2017, after dropping 64 per cent over the past three years.

Bloomberg

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