Takeover Panel may censure Swiss Bank

The Takeover Panel is expected to be asked next week to rule on whether Swiss Bank should stop acting as adviser to Trafalgar House when it takes over SG Warburg, which advises Northern Electric.

An unfavourable ruling by the Takeover Panel could spark a bitter row. Swiss Bank is believed to be determined to retain its link with Trafalgar, despite the unwritten City constitution that it should unilaterally relinquish its role because Warburg's knowledge of Northern would give it an unfair advantage if Trafalgar renews its takeover bid for the electricity company.

Trafalgar failed with a £1.2bn bid for Northern Electric in March, but is expecting to make a renewed take-over attempt within the next few months. Swiss Bank is believed to have decided to retain its role as Trafalgar advisor on any new bid and to ask SG Warburg to drop Northern to avoid conflict.

The electricity firm, however, will next week ask the Takeover Panel to take a view on the issue.

One industry source said: "It is possible that both banks will be asked to step down."

Northern Electric, which declined to comment, is thought to have received expressions of interest from several merchant banks wishing to fill Warburg's shoes.

There has been speculation that it has approached Morgan Stanley. A spokesman for Northern said there has been no change in the situation.

The Swiss Bank bid for Warburg is the latest twist in a long, drawn-out and bitter battle between Trafalgar and Northern Electric.

A bid for Northern at £11 per share lapsed in March after the industry regulator, Offer, announced a review of electricity distribution prices.

The Takeover Panel then rejected attempts to come back with a £9.50 per share. Trafalgar must wait until next March to bid again, unless it is allowed to do so by the Northern Electric board.

The saga has continued in intervening months, with Northern Electric coming under pressure from some shareholders, led by the US arbitrageur, Wyser-Pratte, to allow a new bid.

The company has now been forced to call an extraordinary general meeting on 2 June to allow shareholders to vote on the whether a £9.50 offer should be allowed to proceed but has asked them to reject the move. Northern's shares were up 1p yesterday at 821p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...