Buyout rumours see IFG shares down

Shares in specialist financial services company IFG slipped by nearly 10% yesterday after management moved to cool rising expectations that the company may be about to be acquired.

Last Friday, IFG’s share price jumped by nearly 24%, to €2.10, on the back of the Dublin-based specialist pensions and advisory business confirming it had received an approach from a potentially interested party, that could lead to a formal offer for the company.

However, the group’s share price slipped by as much as 12.86% to €1.83, yesterday on the back of it reiterating the early stage of the process and that no formal bid had been made as yet. It eventually rallied to close at €1.90, 9.5% down on Friday’s close.

In a statement to the Irish and London Stock Exchanges, yesterday, IFG said: “The company notes the share price movement since the announcement of 20 December 2013 regarding a possible approach.

“The company re-iterates that the approach received is highly conditional and preliminary in its nature and that no assurances can be given that a formal offer will be forthcoming or that any transaction will occur.”

Under Takeover Panel rules, IFG was not commenting on the matter yesterday. However, one industry source suggested the fresh interest has not come from Fiordland — one of the investment vehicles involved in the last, ultimately fruitless, takeover battle for IFG two years ago.

It is also understood that Fiordland — which was previously backed by IFG chairman, John Gallagher and has had Peter Priestley as its representative on the IFG board — has wound down its holding company, with its near 24% stake in IFG being divided among its individual members.

All in all, it’s been a busy couple of weeks for IFG — with group chief executive Mark Bourke announcing his departure for AIB, where he will take up the role as chief financial officer in April; and former Royal Bank of Scotland and Morgan Stanley executive, John Cotter being co-opted to the board after being named finance director late last month.


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