Rathbones confirms £200m takeover talks with 112-year-old Glasgow investment firm

From left: S&J executive chairman Graham Waddell, deputy CEO James Wilson and chief executive Russell Crichton

Wealth manager Rathbone Brothers has revealed that it in talks with Glasgow-based investment manager Speirs and Jeffrey over a potential £200 million takeover deal.

The group confirmed the possible tie-up in a London Stock Exchange announcement.

It said: “Rathbones regularly assesses various acquisition opportunities in line with its stated strategy and accordingly confirms that discussions between Rathbones and Speirs & Jeffrey in relation to a possible acquisition of Speirs & Jeffrey by Rathbones are taking place.”

However, it stressed no binding offer had been made and there was “no certainty” a deal would be done.

Founded in 1906, Speirs & Jeffrey achieved revenues of £25.3m and pre-tax profits of £9m in its last financial year.

The sale could land its 10 partners a cash windfall of £10 million each, according to reports.

The company is led by chief executive Russell Crichton and its partners include two St Andrews University graduates, Tom Brown and Adam Drummond.

Andrew Waddell and his executive chairman brother Graham Waddell are also partners and are the third generation of the same family to serve within the company.

London-based Rathbone revealed its interest following a report in the Sunday Telegraph, which claimed private equity firm Permira was also weighing a bid for Speirs and Jeffrey.

Such a move would line up Rathbone and Permira for their second head-to-head battle in less than a year.

Rathbone faced off against Tilney, which is majority owned by Permira, over financial services group Smith & Williamson.

However, both firms’ efforts were thwarted when Smith & Williamson decided to go it alone and embark on an initial public offering (IPO).

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