Cenkos can't get Close

8 November 2007

The Close Brothers have rejected a $2.94 billion all-cash offer from Cenkos, the broking firm owned by Andy Stewart.

The offer was described as "wholly inappropriate" by the board at the Close Brothers.

City AM had reported that the bid would be above $1.5 per share and conditional on due diligence.

Close Brothers has a market cap of $2.3 billion compared to Cenkos' $272.8 million, illustrating just how audacious the bid was.

Mr Stewart, a horse racing fanatic, has a reputation within the City and the rumours will only add to his persona. Close is suffering from a slowdown in its high-risk market-making business and its market value has dropped.

Founded in 1878, Close would have represented a massive coup for Cenkos with City AM describing the bid as a "David against Goliath takeover".

But the Close Brothers re-buffed the approach saying: "The board does not propose to pursue discussions with the consortium."

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