WH Ireland confirms Kuwaiti acquisition speculation

WH Ireland has confirmed Kuwaiti European Holdings is looking to buy a stake in the company.

The listed wealth manager released a statement on the stock exchange earlier today confirming the deal following speculation around the intended acquisition.

Kuwaiti European Holdings, an investment company headed by Abdulla Al-Humaidi, a member of one of the Gulf state’s wealthiest families is understood to have made a bid to acquire 30% of the firm, according to reports.

Shares in the company rose over 10% between mid-July and September, when rumours of the investment started to circulate. Over the course of this weekend, Sky reported that a deal is close, with Kuwaiti European Holdings, leading to the company to make a statement to the stock exchange, earlier today.

According to Sky’s report it is believed that the Kuwaiti firm, which usually focuses on health, leisure, and the property industries, are purchasing shares from investors including Lord Marland, former Conservative Party treasurer, and Rupert Lowe, former chairman of Southampton Football Club.

Wealth management

Earlier this year the chief executive of WH Ireland, Richard Killingbeck, said the company needed to expand and in June, WH Holdings made a deal with SEI’s wealth platform in a move away from stockbroking towards more traditional wealth management.

WH Ireland held £2.7bn in assets under management as of May 31, of which £1bn belonged to its private wealth management arm. It made a net loss of £1.5m in the half-year to May 31, which it blamed on a drop in transactions in its corporate broking division and the Brexit referendum. In February, WH Ireland was also fined £1.2m by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The broker was also banned by the City watchdog from taking on new clients for 72 days, a restriction which has now been served.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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