Collins Stewart chiefs consider MBO

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The Independent Online

Bosses at City stockbrokers Collins Stewart are believed to be mulling over a management-led buyout of the company, which has seen its share price slump from more than 260p last July to just 136p on Friday.

Sources close to the group, which is led by chief executive Joel Plasco and veteran chairman Terry Smith, say management has looked at a range of financing options to take the company private.

"It would be crazy not to look at going private given the fall in the price," said one source.

Staff own more than 20 per cent of the company's shares.

In December, Japanese banking group Nomura admitted to talks with Collins Stewart. But insiders are thought to be vehemently against any deal.

Rumours persist that Cenkos's Andy Stewart, one of the company's founders, could make an offer – in spite of the known enmity between himself and Mr Smith. Collins Stewart declined to comment.

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