Canadians swoop for Collins Stewart at £253m

One of the City's best-known stockbrokers, Collins Stewart Hawkpoint, has been bought by Canadian giant Canaccord for £253 million.

The deal, the latest in a string of broking takeovers and mergers, sees Canaccord notch up its third acquisition this year.

Collins Stewart was set up in the 1990s by racehorse owner Andy Stewart and Leigh Collins but is perhaps best remembered for its days under Terry Smith, whose pastimes include boxing. He left the firm last year after 18 years and became chief executive at Tullett Prebon, formerly the interdealer broking part of the Collins Stewart stable. He sold all his sharessoon after.

Shareholders of Collins Stewart will receive 96p a share in a mixture of cash and Canaccord shares.

Last night was Collins Stewart's Christmas party but yesterday's deal, announced to the stock market in the afternoon, was a "bolt from the blue" to most staff.

Shares in the group leaped 38p to 88.625p. Canaccord, Canada's largest non-bank broker, has been circling the UK for sometime. It held abortive talks with broker Evolution earlier this year but pulled out of them in September.

Henry Biddle at Peel Hunt said: "The principle driver behind the deal is the foothold it gives Canaccord into the UK wealth management space and the revenues which come with that."

The Collins Stewart name will disappear but the Hawkpoint brand will continue. The Canadian firm said there would be some "duplication of roles" but would not comment on likely job losses. Canaccord employs 150 staff in the UK and Collins Stewart 810.

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