KBC bank could pull sale of Peel Hunt if a management buyout stalls

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The Independent Online

The Belgian bank KBC could pull the sale of its Peel Hunt broking business in London in the coming weeks, if a management-led buyout stalls.

Peel Hunt was put up for sale last summer and received a large amount of interest from potential buyers. The process was handled by the corporate finance boutique, Lexicon. But the buyers have fallen away, which has left a management-led buyout as the only option.

Peel Hunt's chief executive, Simon Hayes, is believed to be looking to win financing for the bid from wealthy individuals, now that interest from private equity and venture capital backers has disappeared.

"It's all getting rather desperate," said a source close to the situation. "Something has to be done soon."

It's thought Peel Hunt has indicated to its clients that matters should be clearer by the middle of this month.

KBC bought Peel Hunt for more than £200m in 2000, netting the founders more than £70m. KBC is likely to accept offers of under £40m for the business, which has struggled recently.

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