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MBO may be the way ahead for F&C

F&C Asset Management is not ruling out any sale options after Friends Provident set out its intention to offload its 53 per cent stake.

Friends has appointed two advisory firms, Lazards and Lexicon Partners, to help it sell the wealth management units of its business.

F&C chief executive Alain Grisay said the group has “excellent prospects as a standalone company” and it is investigating all opportunities.

A management buyout is thought to be a feasible option for F&C, particularly as the group does not expect to lose any of the 30 per cent of Friends’ assets it handles.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier says he has no concerns for the business. He says: “Friends is hardly going to wreck a firm with a good record like F&C. The group has a strong brand and it is not as if a new firm is going to come in and unsettle any of the big managers. For me, there are no big worries.”

Last week F&C revealed record returns for 2007, with gross new inflows of £703m into its Oeic range, a 37.3 per cent increase on 2006.

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