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Towry in talks to buy Bluefin’s advice arm

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Towry chief executive Andrew Fisher

Towry is reportedly in talks to buy Axa’s Bluefin Personal Consulting. 

A report in The Sunday Times last week suggested a deal could be agreed to acquire the advice arm imminently. Axa sold Bluefin’s corporate arm, Bluefin Corporate Consulting, to Capita in April 2012 for £50m. It put Bluefin up for sale in 2011.  

Towry revealed earlier this year it was looking to expand the business through acquisition “to take advantage of the RDR opportunities”.  

In October 2006, Axa’s Advisory Services arm, now called Bluefin, bought Thinc for a total £100m consideration. This included a £10m initial payment and a £60m deferred consideration based on the group’s performance in 2009, as well as £30m to restructure its debts. 

However, Grant Thornton later declared the 2009 targets were not reached, meaning the deal cost Axa £40m.

Bluefin was forced to write down £62m in October 2010 due to costs relating to its restructure, which included cutting its private client adviser headcount from 180 to 50.

A Towry spokesman says: “We do not comment on any speculation regarding our acquisition strategy. Towry has been actively looking at a number of opportunities to acquire advice firms and recruit individual financial advisers and will announce all deals when they are completed.”

Axa declined to comment.

Thameside Wealth director Tom Kean says: “It is academic whether people think these businesses are a good fit; what matters is Towry seems to think they are.”

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