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Apex joins takeover battle for UK's Sanne with $2 billion bid

By Reuters

By Aby Jose Koilparambil

– Britain’s Sanne could get a takeover bid from fund servicer Apex Group, it said on Monday, days before the deadline for a rival bidder to make a firm offer for the provider of asset management services.

Apex’s current 920-pence-per-share offer for Sanne values the London-listed firm at about 1.49 billion pounds ($2.1 billion), according to Reuters calculations. The two sides are in advanced talks and Apex is yet to make a formal proposal.

Apex’s proposal represents a premium of 9% to Sanne’s Friday closing price, and is also well above London-based private equity firm Cinven’s latest offer of 875 pence per Sanne share.

Sanne shares were up about 9% higher in Monday trading.

The offer for Sanne is the latest in a flurry of dealmaking activity in Britain, Europe’s biggest mergers and acquisitions market, spanning supermarket groups, healthcare firms and defence suppliers.

Jersey-based Sanne provides outsourcing services to nearly 2,000 clients, varying in type from private debt to capital markets and real estate. It recorded a 12% rise in earnings last year as it won new businesses and made several acquisitions.

Founded in Bermuda in 2003, Apex crossed $1 trillion of combined assets across administration, custody, depositary and under management this year. It has 45 offices worldwide and more than 4,000 employees, according to its website.

Sanne’s board said it had indicated to Apex that it would recommend the bid to shareholders if Apex came back with a firm offer. Apex has until Aug. 30 to either make an offer or walk away under UK Takeover Panel rules.

Sanne last month said the Takeover Panel extended the deadline to Aug. 6 for Cinven to announce a firm intention to make an offer.

Sanne said in June it would begin buyout talks with Cinven after it made a sweetened all-cash offer of 1.42 billion pounds, its fifth proposal for Sanne.

($1 = 0.7191 pounds)