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Syndicate set to buy Ashcourt Holdings

Fund firm acquisition vehicle Syndicate Asset Management is seeking Aim listing and is buying asset manager and financial planning firm Ashcourt Holdings.

Syndicate was set up to build a fund management group by buying smaller firms. It has raised 33m at 60p per share in pre-IPO financing.

The firm is offering 210p per share for each share of Ashcourt holdings, valuing the firm’s existing issued share capital at 12.9m and 13.1m if the firm exercises all its outstanding share options. The offer price represents a premium of 88.5p or 73 per cent on the Ashcourt closing price of 121.5p on September 8.

Ashcourt was set up in 1994 as the asset management division of a firm of solicitors by chief executive, John Morton. It demerged to become an independent asset management firm in 2000 and has grown to a company managing 600m of funds. Sixty per cent of the firm is in investment management and 40 per cent in financial planning. It has eight RIs and 14 asset managers.

Ashcourt chief executive John Morton says: “This is a great deal for our shareholders, clients and staff. SAM shares our belief in the future consolidation of the industry and its strategy is almost identical to ours.”

Innes Reid managing director Mark Reidford says: “We are seeing consolidation right across the board from sole traders through asset managers to the life insurance firms. Size is power and often the best way to get it rather than growing generically is to go on the acquisition trail.”

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