TPG aims to win over unhappy B&B investors

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The Independent Online

TPG, the US buyout group, is to hold a series of meetings with Bradford & Bingley shareholders over the next few days to build bridges and outline its plans in the run-up to the vote on its proposed £179m investment in the beleaguered bank.

A source close to talks said: "TPG will meet the largest investors as it wants to repair relationships following recent events with Resolution and outline its future strategy with regards to Bradford & Bingley."

Investors are preparing to vote on whether to approve B&B's fundraising plans at an extraordinary general meeting on 7 July. Alongside TPG's proposed cash investment for a 23 per cent stake, the lender intends to raise a further £258m through a rights issue.

It is understood that TPG plans to meet shareholders including those that backed the rival investment plan from Resolution, the investment fund set up by Colin Cowdery. Resolution was approached by Standard Life, Legal & General, Insight and Prudential to front an alternative plan to invest £400m into B&B, in effect taking control of the group, following unhappiness over the original plan.

The proposed deal collapsed last Friday after a week of talks, when Resolution walked away, blaming B&B's board for being "extremely obstructive" as they refused to open the books. Resolution said that its plan had support from investors owning 40 per cent of B&B's shares.

Shareholders, dismayed at B&B's failure to allow due diligence on the rival offer, bombarded the group's board with angry telephone calls and letters. Standard Life took the unusual step of speaking out publicly against the board's decision.

Investors are unlikely to reject the original fundraising proposals in lieu of an alternative offer, as the bank is desperate for funds, but questions have been raised over whether B&B's chairman, Rod Kent, will survive after last week's events.

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