Old Mutual shares soar on break-up rumours

Old Mutual’s share price soared on Monday, after the company declined to deny reports, first broken by Sky News on Sunday, that it is planning to break up the company into four separate groups.

In a statement early on Monday morning, the Anglo-South African financial services giant said it was considering “all options” but had reached no final decision on the break-up.

“Old Mutual plc notes the press speculation on Saturday 5 March 2016. When our new Chief Executive Bruce Hemphill joined on 1 November 2015, we announced that we would be conducting a strategic review,” the company said.

“We can confirm that all options for the strategic review are being considered but no decision has yet been made.”

It went on to say it would provide more details in the potential break up on 11 March 2016, when it releases its 2015 results.

It’s failure to deny the report saw the share price surprise soar to an early peak of 10% above its Friday closing price. As at 11:15 am, market sentiment had settled somewhat, with the share price up 7.5% on Friday’s price.

Old Mutual is comprised of four core parts: a UK wealth management business; a US asset management business; an African financial services business; and a 40% stake in South African bank Nedbank. The African businesses were the most profitable in last year’s results. It is understood these four groups would each stand alone if Old Mutual goes ahead with the break-up.

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