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UK's River & Mercantile gets takeover approaches from rivals, shares jump

By Reuters

<div> <p> – British fund manager River and Mercantile Group said on Tuesday it has received preliminary approaches for a possible buyout from rivals Premier Miton Group and AssetCo Plc. </p> <p>Shares in R&M jumped as much as 11.3% to their highest in three years, while those in Premier Miton slipped 0.2% by 0859 <span class="caps">GMT</span>. Assetco’s stock price was unchanged. R&M has a market cap of 244.6 million pounds ($327.24 million), based on Monday’s close</p> <p>Any potential deal is conditional on R&M completing the planned sale of its pensions business, Solutions, R&M added.</p> <p>Asset managers, which actively manage funds, have been bulking up in recent years to cut costs and fight off competition from rivals running cheaper passive, or index-tracking, funds.</p> <p>Premier Miton’s merger interest in R&M was first reported by Sky News.</p> <p>R&M announced a deal last month to sell its pensions business to Schroders for 230 million pounds ($316.30 million) to sharpen its focus on its primary wealth management business, which manages 3.4 billion pounds in assets.</p> <p>Premier Miton and AssetCo confirmed the individual approaches separately, with Premier Miton, which manages 13.9 billion pounds in assets, saying it was exploring a buyout of R&M through the issue of shares.</p> <p>AssetCo said it currently holds five million shares in R&M, representing about 5.85% of its voting rights.</p> <p>The company added that its Chairman Martin Gilbert, who is also the deputy Chairman of R&M, has recused himself from the R&M board for the purposes of talks relating to the potential bid. Gilbert formerly served as the co-<span class="caps">CEO</span> of blue-chip asset manager abrdn. </p> <p>According to UK takeover rules, Premier Miton and AssetCo have to make firm offers for R&M by Dec. 21 or walk way.</p> <p>($1 = 0.7476 pounds)</p> <p/> </div>