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Charcol sale is off as founders buy out private equity

John Charcol’s private equity shareholder Advantage Capital has sold its 15 per cent stake to the company’s founders after a sale of the broker was ruled out.

A spokesman for John Charcol confirmed that the outcome of its strategic review announced in January will see directors John Garfield and Charles Wishart acquire the interests of Advantage Capital.

Garfield and Wishart, along with Jon Moulton, will also make significant further investments to the working capital of the business.

Money Marketing revealed in March that these three directors had paid £1.5m to plug a hole in the company’s accounts after auditor KPMG warned of the “material uncertainty” of the broker continuing as a going concern.

The firm said the funding was “an interim measure” prior to an ownership review. It put itself up for sale in January with a price tag understood to be around £50m.

John Charcol’s accounts for the year ended December 31, 2006 showed that the firm had outstanding loans of £1.1m to Advantage.

The 2006 accounts revealed that it had incurred a net loss of £41,000 in 2006 and its parent company’s liabilities exceeded its assets by £150,000.

A spokesman refused to comment on how much Garfield and Wishart paid for Advantage’s stake and whether the private equity firm’s loan had increased.

He says: “Following the conclusion of the strategic review announced at the start of 2008, some changes have been made to the ownership of John Charcol. John Garfield and Charles Wishart, the two original founders of the business some 34 years ago, have increased their stake.”

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