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Charcol may seek buyer after split with Private Label

Mortgage broker John Charcol is considering listing on the Stock Exchange or seeking a buyer within two years after splitting from Private Label.

Charcol and Private Label, which have been part of Mortgage Group Holdings for eight years, demerged through a share swap last week.

Charcol intends to embark on a strategic review of its IFA business during 1998.

According to Charcol chief executive John Garfield, potential partners could include American brokers or UK banks and building societies.

He says a merger with another IFA firm would be less likely.

Garfield says: "We intend to create capital value for the firm and there are various things we can do to further our position in the IFA market, either by being independent or by getting together with other people."

Garfield denies that the company is currently up for sale and claims it has not held any deal talks. He says: "Whether or not we should seek a partner has not been decided yet."

Last week, Private Label executive chairman Stephen Knight and his senior team gave up their shares in Mortgage Group Holdings.

Mortgage Group Holdings, which is John Charcol&#39s parent company, has also returned its shareholding in Private Label to Knight and the other directors.

Charcol and Private Label admit that the threat of conflicting interests was a factor in the decision to split.

Private Label managing director Godfrey Blight says: "When we first got together, Charcol was purely retail and we were wholesale.

"But they are now doing more product design and Private Label is moving into retail through its lead-generation business."

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