Charles Stanley mops up Durlacher private clients in £4.5m takeover

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The Independent Online

Charles Stanley, the 211-year-old stockbroking business, said yesterday it was buying the private-client and online share trading units of Durlacher Corporation for up to £4.5m.

Durlacher's private-client operation, which employs seven brokers, is being valued at £3.5m. Stanley will pay £250,000 on completion, with the remainder dependent on sales figures over the next two years. Durlacher will still be responsible for the division's liabilities.

The online business, Nothing Ventured, is to cost up to £1m, of which Stanley will pay £100,000 down and the rest over four years, paying 30 per cent of NV's sales over that period.

In the 12 months ending 30 June 2002, the unaudited management accounts of Durlacher showed that NV generated gross revenues of approximately £560,000 and a gross profit of £280,000, while the private-client business had sales of approximately £703,000 and a gross profit of £352,000. The net assets of the two companies were valued at less than £50,000.

Michael Clark, director of Charles Stanley, said: "As a full-service stockbroker, these acquisitions not only build on our private-client capability but also enhance our position as a substantial provider of internet share dealing services."

According to yesterday's announcement, Durlacher is selling the units to raise money for its remaining investment banking and fund management operations.

Durlacher was one of the great stockjobbing firms before the Big Bang reforms of 1986. It was taken over by Barclays as part of those changes and the name became dormant. It was revived in 1992 by a family member, Peter Durlacher, and was then taken over by a stockbroker, Geoffrey Chamberlain. He rode the dotcom boom, taking the company to the verge of the FTSE 100 index in 2000 before the bubble burst. Mr Chamberlain resigned last year.

Durlacher rose 0.5p to 171.5p. Stanley rose 2p to 172p.

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