F&C agrees £708m takeover offer from Canadian bank

The Gherkin and Canary Wharf Image copyright PA

UK fund manager F&C Asset Management has agreed to a £708m takeover from the Canadian bank BMO Global Asset Management.

F&C, one of the City's oldest investment firms, said the offer was 28% higher than Friday's closing share price.

F&C said the sale would allow the company to "broaden and accelerate our ambitions".

"The offer represents an attractive valuation," said chair Kieran Poynter.

It is still subject to shareholder approval.

BMO, part of the Bank of Montreal, said the UK and European markets were "strategically important" to it.

"We are the oldest bank in Canada and our ties with the UK have been present since our founding," added Barry McInerney, co-chief executive at BMO Global Asset Management.

The acquisition will more than double the size of BMO's global fund management arm, which runs more than $132bn in assets.

Shore Capital analyst, Owen Jones, said the deal was "fair" and in line with the sector.

F&C has struggled in recent years with client outflows and relatively weak earnings. Its relative underperformance prompted activist investor Edward Bramson to take control of the group in a 2011 boardroom coup.

Mr Bramson stepped down as chairman in August.

In a separate trading update, F&C said group assets under management were £82.1bn as at 31 December 2013.

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