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BBB may buy firms to bolster IFA arm

Berkeley Berry Birch says it may acquire IFA firms to develop the adviser arm of its business but is unlikely to merge with another firm after the collapse of talks with Inter-Alliance.

A statement put out last week said trading in the year ending March 31 was in line with market expectations and said BBB made an operating profit in February and March. The firm said it had cash reserves of over £10m at the end of March.

Industry sources say the deal collapsed because the price was not right for Lockyer to face giving up control of his firm for a less influential role in an enlarged group. Valuation of the terms had proved difficult, with BBB&#39s share price fluctuating between 28p and 18p during negotiations.

BBB this week launched its mortgage arm and says it wants to double its IFA numbers. Its two IFA firms, Berry Birch & Noble and Weston Financial Group, both have 80 advisers each compared with more than 600 RIs in its Berkeley Independent Advisers network.

BBB group chairman Cliff Lockyer says: “Keith and I worked hard for this deal. We are a cash-generative business and have no plans to call on the City for more cash. As far as the future is concerned, I do not see another merger although I can see some acquisitions we might make.”

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