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Jupiter says no to Duffield offer of £50m over highest bid

New Star chairman John Duffield has had an audacious bid for Jupiter Asset Management rejected des-pite pledging to pay at least £50m more than the highest bidder.

After months of speculation about a possible move, Duffield wrote to investment bank Goldman Sachs, which is advising Jupiter&#39s parent Commerzbank, with an offer he said would exceed by tens of millions the highest credible bid.

But within 24 hours, Goldman rejected the app-roach despite having failed to find a buyer prepared to pay Commerzbank&#39s asking price of £500m.

The move is the latest twist in a saga which began when Duffield and Commerzbank became emb-roiled in a dispute over the sale of Jupiter, the firm Duffield founded in 1986.

Having already sold 75 per cent of the business to the German bank for £450m in 1995, Duffield objected to the amount it was willing to pay for the remaining 25 per cent and left, eventually taking Commerzbank to court for unfair dismissal.

After a messy public spat, Commerzbank settled out of court for £5m but Duffield and Jupiter remain at loggerheads.

New Star chief executive Howard Covington says: “There are many synergies but they did not want to discuss it. It seems illogical that Commerzbank, which is supposed to be looking for the best cash price, does not want to deal with us.”

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