Gilbert gets more time on River and Mercantile bid

Martin Gilbert

The UK’s Takeover Panel has extended the deadline to January 18 by which Martin Gilbert’s investment firm AssetCo plc and rival suitor Premier Miton Group must announce a firm intention to make an offer for fund manager River and Mercantile Group (RMG)which manages assets of almost £50 billion.

AssetCo chairman Gilbert is the former co-CEO of Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA), now called abrdn.

Gilbert is also deputy chairman of River & Mercantile — but he has “recused himself from the RMG board for the purposes of discussions in relation to the possible offer.”

The revised deadline may be extended further at the request of River and Mercantile and with the consent of the Takeover Panel.

AssetCo said: “The AssetCo board continues to believe that RMG Asset Management and AssetCo are highly complementary and that a combination of AssetCo and RMG Asset Management would create significant value for the combined group’s clients, portfolio managers, employees and shareholders.

“The AssetCo directors also believe that there is material value in leveraging other elements of the AssetCo business and strategy to increase the value of RMG Asset Management and widen investor appeal.

“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.”

AssetCo CEO Campbell Fleming said: “We note that the board of River and Mercantile Group has agreed to an extension of the offer period.

“This should allow sufficient time to finalise a potential offer to acquire River and Mercantile (excluding its Solutions business) for the benefit of both AssetCo and River and Mercantile shareholders.

“River and Mercantile has great potential as an active equity and infrastructure investment manager with people, clients and product offering that would complement our existing businesses. 

“It will also accelerate, and be a core part of our focus on, building an agile 21st century asset and wealth management business that meets the needs of investors.”

River and Mercantile said: “On 23 November 2021, the board of River and Mercantile announced that it had received preliminary approaches from AssetCo PLC and Premier Miton Group PLC regarding possible offers for the company.

“As announced on 23 November 2021, each of AssetCo and Premier Miton has stated to the board that any possible offer would be conditional on the completion of the proposed sale of the Solutions business, which was approved by the company’s shareholders on 13 December 2021.

In accordance with Rule 2.6(a) of the Code, each of AssetCo and Premier Miton were required, by not later than 5.00 p.m. on 21 December 2021, either to announce a firm intention to make an offer for River and Mercantile in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or to announce that they did not intend to make an offer for River and Mercantile, in which case the announcement would be treated, for the relevant possible offeror, as a statement to which Rule 2.8 of the Code applied.

Discussions between the Board and each of AssetCo and Premier Miton remain ongoing. 

“Therefore, in accordance with Rule 2.6(c) of the Code, the company has requested, and the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers has consented to, an extension to the deadline by which both AssetCo and Premier Miton are required either to announce a firm intention to make an offer for River and Mercantile in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or to announce that they do not intend to make an offer, in which case the announcement will be treated as a statement to which Rule 2.8 of the Code applies.

“Such announcements must now be made by not later than 5.00 p.m. on 18 January 2022.

“This revised deadline may be extended further, at the request of the board of River and Mercantile and with the consent of the Takeover Panel, in accordance with Rule 2.6(c) of the Code.

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.”

About the Author

Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.