Ex-Barclays CEO Diamond teams up with Qataris in Panmure Gordon bid

Former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond is to return to the UK’s banking industry, under a deal that sees him teaming up with a Qatari investment group to buy the London-based Panmure Gordon stockbroking house.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange today, Panmure said it had accepted a £15.5m (US$19.2m, €17.8m) cash offer (100p a share) from Ellsworthy Ltd, an investment entity formed by Diamond’s company, Atlas Merchant Capital, and QInvest, the Qatar investment bank.

Ellsworthy was formed in January of this year, the statement noted, “for the purpose of implementing the [Panmure Gordon] transaction”. QInvest already owns more than 43% of Panmure’s shares.

Panmure said the Ellsworthy offer was at a 68% premium to Panmure’s closing price on Thursday of 59.5p.

By mid-morning Panmure Gordon shares were up 66%, at 98.65p.

AIM-listed Panmure Gordon dates back more than 140 years, and like many mid-cap brokerages, has been suffering, particularly since the global financial crisis, from a challenging market environment.  In 2015 it acquired Charles Stanley Securities; that year also saw it post a loss of £16.7m.

As many publications noted in their coverage of the deal, Ian Cameron, the late father of former British prime minister David Cameron, had been  a senior partner of Panmure.

The Diamond/QInvest bid for Panmure received prominent coverage in the UK press on Friday, which has described it as a return to London’s banking scene by Diamond, a once well-known figure in London banking circles. The American has been less visible since he was a casualty of the LIBOR scandal five years ago.

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