Swiss bank’s sale of Har­ris All­day in doubt af­ter in­sid­ers in­ter­vene

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Michael O’Dwyer

THE sale by Swiss bank EFG In­ter­na­tional of wealth man­ager Har­ris All­day has been thrown into chaos af­ter in­sid­ers at the Mid­lands-based firm at­tempted to de­rail the process.

EFG has been try­ing to off­load Har­ris All­day for sev­eral months but has failed to strike an agree­ment to sell the firm, ac­cord­ing to City sources.

Roth­schild & Co is ad­vis­ing on the sale process which hit trou­ble af­ter a fac­tion within Har­ris All­day de­vised an al­ter­na­tive plan.

At least one po­ten­tial buyer was ap­proached uni­lat­er­ally by peo­ple within Har­ris All­day who pro­posed an al­ter­na­tive deal in­volv­ing either a man­age­ment buy-out of the firm or a deal to take over only part of its oper­a­tions, sources said. Har­ris All­day was founded in 1834 and has of­fices in Birm­ing­ham, Lon­don, Om­ber­s­ley and Shrews­bury.

The firm, which was bought by EFG in 2006, had more than £3bn un­der man­age­ment at the end of last year.

Wealth man­ager Canac­cord Ge­nu­ity was one of the par­ties that con­sid­ered bid­ding for the firm be­fore pulling out, two sources said.

Charles Stan­ley, the Lon­don-listed in­vest­ment man­ager, and at least two pri­vate eq­uity firms have been run­ning the rule over the busi­ness more re­cently, an­other per­son said.

EFG In­ter­na­tional, which has a pri­vate bank­ing busi­ness in the UK, is listed in Switzer­land and has a mar­ket value of CHF1.5bn (£1.3bn).

The com­pany is part of the busi­ness em­pire of the bil­lion­aire Lat­sis family, which made its for­tune in ship­ping and then later diver­si­fied into oil and bank­ing.

Yian­nis “John” Lat­sis, a friend of the Prince of Wales, was a ma­jor Con­ser­va­tive donor be­fore his death in 2003, while one of his grand­sons, Paris, was briefly en­gaged to be mar­ried to Paris Hil­ton in 2005.

Sell­ing Har­ris All­day would make sense as it is not a core part of EFG’s pri­vate bank­ing busi­ness and profit mar­gins are tight, City sources said.

A spokesman for EFG said: “EFG In­ter­na­tional confirms that while no de­ci­sion has been made yet, it is cur­rently re­view­ing the strate­gic op­tions for Har­ris All­day in the con­text of its pre­vi­ously an­nounced in­ter­na­tional book­ing cen­tre and foot­print ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion.”

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