Billionaire businessmen back £5.4bn bid for company they launched

Hargreaves Lansdown

The two men who founded investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown are backing a £5.4bn takeover bid for the business.

Both Stephen Lansdown, the owner of Bristol City and Peter Hargreaves appear to have given their support to the consortium who are looking to buy the business they set up in a Clifton bedroom 40 years ago.

The private equity backed consortium made three bids for the Bristol company before their fourth offer was accepted.

Following the news shares in the company, which is one of the South West’s biggest employers surged by fiver per cent.

The firm has endured a difficult couple of years and the board has come under repeated attack from billionaire businessman Peter Hargreaves.

Notoriously Hargreaves Lansdown was caught up in the scandal surrounding the collapse of Neil Woodford’s investment empire having been a strong backer of the West Country fund manager.

He was behind a successful bid to get the former chairman removed and has called for swingeing cuts at the firm which he helped grow into a FTSE 100 business.

Peter Hargreaves

Peter Hargreaves is still the largest shareholder and holds a 20 per cent stake in the firm.

Stephen Lansdown, who has a 5.7 per cent holding, said he was ‘pleased’ with developments and described the bid as ‘something to consider’.

Chairman Alison Platt, has publicly stated Hargreaves Lansdown would accept the 1140p-a-share offer from CVC Capital Partners, Nordic Capital and Platinum Ivy, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund.

Alison Platt oversaw the sale of another London-listed company. She was chair of Dechra Pharmaceuticals when it was sold to Swedish buyout firm EQT for £4.5bn last year.

Hargreaves, 77, and Lansdown, 71, set up the company in 1981 and floated it on the stock market in 2007.

Despite its recent problems it is now country’s biggest investment platform and has almost two million customers.

Peter Hargreaves, who has a reputation for being outspoken has criticised the former chair and chief executive saying Platt and new chief executive Dan Olley have had to ‘mop up their mess’.

He did not hold back when it came to previous chairman Deanna Oppenheimer and chief executive Chris Hill, who he described as ‘equally useless’.

Peter Hargreaves, who would bank over £1bn from the sale, said: “I think the takeover is going to work very, very well.

“I think it is going to be a good solution. If the chairman recommends it, I would be very, very happy to back her decision.

“It’s something to consider now and the board is going to support it so we’re going through the process. I’m pleased we have got some finality and we’ll do our homework now.”

Shareholders will be able to transfer their stake to the new unlisted company or accept the cash.


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