Warburg `to stay alone'

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The Independent Online
SG Warburg is not on a search for another potential merger partner and has no hopes of reviving the talks with Morgan Stanley that collapsed on Thursday, according to its vice chairman, Thomas Wyman.

Mr Wyman, who is also chairman of SG Warburg USA, said that the last few days had been awkward and disruptive, but that the investment bank now had to move on.

"If it [the deal] had been crucial to our survival ... then failure in that situation would be really serious, but that just isn't the case," Mr Wyman told the Reuter news agency. Mr Wyman denied that the merger shambles had left Britain's premier investment bank discredited and wide open to a bid.

"Warburg is the most successful investment bank outside the United States and will continue to be," he said.

"The only reasonable speculation is how fast we could get to be substantially larger. It cannot be a question of whether we have the resources to do it or whether we're making progress because we are. Whether we can go it alone or whether we can survive is frankly a silly question. Survival certainly is not an issue."

The proposed merger of the two financial services giants collapsed because owners of the 25 per cent of shares in Mercury Asset Management not owned by Warburg demanded a premium price for their holdings that Morgan would not pay.

In London, speculation continued that despite Warburg's declared intention of rebuilding an independent strategy, approaches are likely from other investment or commercial banks to fill the gap left by Morgan Stanley.

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