IFG Group Offer Talks Collapse

REUTERS:

Shares in Irish financial services group IFG has ended talks with Bregal Capital over a 231 million euros ($314 million) takeover after the private equity group said it was no longer prepared to table an offer at 1.80 euros per IFG share, sending its stock down nearly 30 percent.

IFG, which provides financial advice and pension administration services in the UK and Ireland, said turbulence in financial markets was to blame.

“They basically said they were not prepared to do it at that price and it was always on that basis,” IFG’s Chief Executive Mark Bourke told Reuters in an interview. “The market does affect the availability of debt.”

“It makes it very hard to do a deal with that level of uncertainty around and everybody feeling negative rather than positive.”

The euro and European stocks dropped on Tuesday amid concerns about the euro zone’s ability to deal with a debt crisis that risks triggering another banking crisis and global downturn.

Shares in IFG hit a nine-month low of 1.16 euros after it said the exclusive talks with Bregal had ended.

IFG’s stock was at 1.2 euros at 1440 GMT, it was trading around 1.5 euros in early May prior to the bid approaches.

Bourke said the group, which makes over 80 percent of its revenues in the UK, was not in discussions with anyone else.

IFG’s largest shareholder, Fiordland, which owns 19 percent of the group, had approached the group in May about a possible takeover. ($1 = 0.735 Euros)

(Reporting by Carmel Crimmins; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)