Blackstone bid for Close Brothers in doubt

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Blackstone is being thwarted in its attempts to buy and carve up blue-blood banking group Close Brothers because of uncertainty over the plans of its bid partner, Collins Stewart, sources close to the group have said.

Private equity house Blackstone and investment bank Collins Stewart have been mounting a joint bid.

Any deal would probably involve Collins Stewart taking Winterflood Securities, the biggest market-maker of stocks on the junior Alternative Investment Market. But those plans have been put on hold amid concerns that Collins Stewart is mulling a management-led buyout, something the firm recently denied.

"It's certainly not off but things aren't moving at all at present because of what they are considering," said a source.

Blackstone and Japanese group Orix are thought to be the last two firms considering bids for Close Brothers, whose shares finished up less than 1 per cent on Friday at 792.5p, some way off its January high of nearly £10.