BlueGem and SPQR cross swords over KBC bank's Peel Hunt brokerage

BlueGem Capital Partners, the hedge fund which earlier in the year failed in its attempt to buy a stake in City stockbroker Panmure Gordon, is believed to be interested in buying Peel Hunt, put up for sale by its troubled parent, Belgium's KBC bank.

KBC has hired Lexicon Partners to review and likely sell the London broker it bought for £219m in 2000 and is thought to have received an expression of interest from BlueGem, which boasts the former Merrill Lynch chairman, Bob Wigley, on its advisory board. City sources have suggested that BlueGem could snap up Peel Hunt for as little as £20m.

And in an interesting twist, it is believed that SPQR, the hedge fund that also sought to buy a stake in Panmure earlier in the summer, could cross swords with BlueGem once again.

SPQR, set up by millionaire French banker Bertrand des Pallières, has already signalled its intent to break into the London brokerage market and could enter the bidding for Peel Hunt.