City's Mr Football in urgent talks to raise cash to bolster broking firm
There was intense speculation in the City last night about the future of Seymour Pierce, the stockbroker led by football deal maker Keith Harris.
Mr Harris, the Square Mile's "Mr Football", has brokered some of the biggest deals in the game, and is often linked to many others that do not come to fruition.
Rumours that Seymour was in some difficulty have been the talk of the City for some months, with low levels of takeover activity and little appetite from investors to take risks hitting earnings at all but the biggest brokers.
The firm is known to have been seeking a cash injection from an outside investor for some time.
City sources say that administration is a possibility but insist that it is not imminent. Mr Harris is said to be seeking funds of perhaps £3m.
A smooth-talking, several times divorced Manchester United fan, Mr Harris has led Seymour since 1999. His scalps include introducing Roman Abramovich to Chelsea, getting Randy Lerner into Aston Villa and overseeing the purchase of Manchester City by the former Thailand prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
He has been linked to many other deals involving clubs across the Premier and other leagues.
He did not return calls last night seeking comment. His public relations firm also declined comment.
But City sources said they were not surprised by the news and claimed the firm was running out of time to shore up its position.
Seymour has been around since 1883, but like many rivals has found the financial crisis tough to handle.
Similar-sized firms have merged to save costs or sought help from wealthy overseas backers keen to grab a foothold in the City of London.
Mr Harris was involved somewhat in the "Red Knights" who tried to launch a takeover of Manchester United in 2010.
Most of the firm is owned by Mr Harris and other staff following a management buyout in 2003.
For the year to September 2011, Seymour recorded a loss of £600,000.
Mr Harris lives in Chelsea. He was formerly a neighbour of the TV presenter David Frost in that borough.
Emergency landing at Heathrow sparks further controversy over London airport capacity
Unrest may spread across Europe, warns Red Cross chief
French government seeks to ban extreme right-wing group
BNP and EDL accused of attempt to fuel racial hatred after Woolwich terror attack
You want to get an Eton scholarship? All you need to do is answer four (not so simple) questions
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 3 Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Exclusive: Woolwich killings suspect Michael Adebolajo was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.