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B&B buys up Meehan and ditches takeover defence

Bradford & Bingley is buying high-net-worth IFA Holden Meehan in a move which marks its first purchase since demutualising in 2000.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, will see London and Bristol-based Holden Meehan branded Charcol Holden Meehan and become an independent subsidiary within the B&B Group.

It also means that B&B&#39s own takeover protection will expire 30 months early, leaving the FTSE 100 group open to a possible takeover. B&B says it never intended to hide behind its regulatory protection and is keen to make further purchases.

All Holden Meehan&#39s 25 RIs are remaining with the group. Joint founder Pat Meehan will become managing partner and current directors Amanda Davidson, Phil Chapman and Kevin Mills will become partners.

At its AGM this week, B&B also announced it has the option to buy a loan portfolio of up to £1.05bn from lender GMAC-RFC in the next seven months. This follows two previous deals announced in September and March which saw it buy £1.1bn of GMAC&#39s book.

Davidson says: “The great thing about the deal from our point of view is that in the past B&B have let their acquisitions get on with their jobs.”

B&B managing director (retail) Phil Barrett says: “This is definitely a skill acquisition. We want to move further into the fee-charging IFA business.”

Stockbrokers Colin Stewart banking analyst Alan Weatherstone says: “More Machiavellian people might regard this as a backhanded way of putting themselves up for sale but B&B has never attempted to hide behind its regulatory takeover protection. I don&#39t know if this move changes the picture that much.”

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