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BBB shares soar amid speculation of going private

Shares in IFA Berkeley Berry Birch have nearly doubled in price following speculation that chairman Cliff Lockyer is preparing to take the company private.

Shares in BBB have risen from 8.15 on January 31 to 15.70 at the time of going to press with the expectation that the firm will be delisted from Aim.

BBB returned an operating profit of 68,000 for the six months to September 30 after a loss of 3.2m in the previous six months .

Its market capitalisation stands at 13.54m, with Nov-ember accounts showing about 10.9m held in cash. The big-gest shareholders in BBB are life insurance companies Aegon, Scottish Widows, Friends, HBOS and Norwich Union, which together hold 33 per cent, and Lockyer, who holds 31 per cent.

The share price of the firm started to rise around the time that BBB made changes to its board in the New Year, prompting speculation of a structural change in the firm.

Finance director Craig But-cher announced his resignation on January 25. This followed the departure of deputy chairman Bill Main the previous day, along with non-executive director Kevin Higginson.

Numis Securities analyst Stuart Duncan says: “The share price increase has all followed since the board changes. There have been no announcements from the company – their results were some time ago – so it is clear that something has happened to get investors interested.”

Lockyer was unavailable for comment.

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