Bridgewell founders to net £6.8m each from flotation

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The Independent Online

The flotation of Bridgewell Securities should net its two founders as much as £6.8m each. Ian Dighe and Giles Elliott each hold a 6.8 per cent stake in the boutique investment bank they set up six years ago.

Bridgewell, a specialist in small- and medium-sized companies, is expected to command a value of between £70m and £100m after trading in the shares starts on the Alternative Investment Market next month. The extent to which each will trim his holding depends on the price outside investors will be prepared to pay.

Others working at Bridgewell own a further 30 per cent of the business between them, while HBOS is the biggest single shareholder with an 8.7 per cent stake.

Bridgewell is to raise £15m, of which £5m will be used to repay HBOS for a loan given in November last year to part-finance the £12m acquisition of the brokerage Robert W Baird. The balance will be used to grow the business over the next few years.

The decision to float Bridgewell, announced yesterday, came as no surprise. Early backers, including Artemis and Amvescap, were promised a means of realising their investments within five years.

After flotation, Mr Elliott will step down as an independent director. Mr Dighe will remain with the bank for at least a year. Paul Manduca, the founder of Threadneedle Asset Management, is to become chairman.

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