Bermuda's oldest bank buys Leopold Joseph

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The Independent Online

Leopold Joseph, the private bank to the well-heeled, yesterday renounced its independence after 85 years by selling itself to Bermuda's oldest bank.

Bank of Butterfield, quoted on the Bermuda and Cayman Islands stock exchanges, will pay £51.5m in cash for Leopold Joseph, whose client list includes celebrities such as Mick Jagger and Cat Stevens.

Bermuda's second-biggest bank is offering 950p per share, an 11 per cent premium to Wednesday's closing share price and 44 per cent above the price Leopold Joseph's shares were trading at last September just before it announced the sale. The bank has not yet decided whether to continue to use the Leopold Joseph name ­ one of the few that still represents a small independent bank in the City.

Many others have been sold, with Coutts going to Royal Bank of Scotland and Cater Allen being bought by Abbey National.

Leopold Joseph's new owners may represent less of a change, as Butterfield is also a small business by international standards and places importance on maintaining relationships with individual clients. Robin Herbert, the chairman of Leopold Joseph, said of the deal, which came after 30 bidders expressed interest: "We share values and are committed to a high level of personal advice to clients."

The deal will give about £10m to Mr Herbert and his family, who own about 20 per cent of the business. The other directors will make about £5m.

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