River & Mercantile prolongs bidding war despite £230m deal for solutions arm

Talks with Assetco and Premier Miton will remain ongoing despite deadline for bids ending today


A bidding war for River & Mercantile will extend into the new year despite the fact the sale of its solutions business has been approved by shareholders, which was one of the conditions for either Assetco or Premier Miton to make an offer for the business.

Both asset management companies had until the end of today to either make an offer or announce they did not intend to make an offer. But in a regulatory filing issued this morning, Assetco said it was extending this deadline to 18 January, with consent from the takeover panel.

River & Mercantile has been in the middle of a bidding war between Premier Miton and Assetco since November after both asset groups confirmed in stock exchange announcements they had approached the firm regarding an acquisition.

Martin Gilbert’s vehicle Assetco said its directors believed that River and Mercantile and Assetco are “highly complementary” and combining the two groups’ management teams would “create significant value for the combined group’s clients, portfolio managers, employees and shareholders”.

Premier Miton, meanwhile, said it believed “the scale and synergy benefits arising from a combination with River and Mercantile would drive value accretion for both sets of shareholders”.

Both Assetco and Premier Miton stated any offer would be conditional on River and Mercantile completing the sale of its £42bn solutions business. In October, River & Mercantile announced Schroders had made a bid to buy the fiduciary management arm for £230m and that was approved by shareholders on 13 December.

River & Mercantile said it was possible for a further extension. “There can be no certainty that a firm offer will be made nor as to the terms of any such offer. A further announcement will be made in due course,” the regulatory filing said.

See also: Assetco tipped as better home for R&M than Premier Miton