Resolution backed by 40% of B&B investors

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The Independent Online

Resolution, the investment company seeking to muscle in on Bradford & Bingley's £437m fund-raising plans, piled on the pressure yesterday after it claimed backing from investors holding another 25 per cent of the lender's shares, giving it a total of 40 per cent.

B&B is trying to sell a 23 per cent stake to the private equity group Texas Pacific Group (TPG) and to carry out a deeply discounted rights issue to boost the bank's finances in the face of credit and housing market woes.

Resolution, which has backing from key B&B shareholders to launch a rival support package, had its request for due diligence snubbed by the lender yesterday. The fund, run by Clive Cowdery, drummed up support for its proposal through a series of telephone calls with some of B&B's largest investors. Last night, it said that institutions owning 25 per cent of B&B shares had "contacted Resolution to support its request that it be given access to due diligence". It wants B&B to open up its books so it can firm up its proposals before the 4 July deadline. A spokesman admitted: "We are running out of time."

Resolution's move was supported by the UK Shareholders Association, which said the group's proposal "should be seriously considered by B&B". The Association of British Insurers said B&B's plan "involves breaches of fundamental principles of sound governance which are unacceptable to shareholders".

B&B is determined to push ahead with its plans for a £258m rights issue and a £179m investment from TPG.