Evolution in talks with Panmure Gordon investor over possible takeover deal

Evolution Securities is in talks with the largest shareholder of Panmure Gordon over a potential takeover of its 130-year broking rival.

Following reports of a potential deal, Evolution's board released a statement yesterday confirming it was considering an approach for one of London's oldest stockbrokers. "There has been much speculation within the sector in London, and at any given time the company has under consideration a broad range of options," Evolution said, adding: "One such option is a possible offer for Panmure Gordon."

Evolution has met with QInvest, a Qatari investor which took a 47 per cent stake in Panmure last year over buying its stake, triggering a full bid under panel rules. Panmure's board responded that it had held "no discussions" with Evolution, but did not return calls for further comment yesterday. One broking source said: "Evolution is keen on Panmure because it wants the corporate client list," adding: "There are too many brokers. Consolidation is much needed: we could probably do without 40 per cent of the existing small brokers in London."

Panmure is due to release its interim results next Wednesday. The group posted a full-year loss in 2009, and said yesterday it had experienced "particularly challenging markets" in the first half of this year.

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