Iceland's Kaupthing Bank has made its long-awaited cash bid of pounds 547m for the British investment bank Singer & Friedlander, which it sees as a springboard for further expansion in the UK.
Sigardur Einarsson, the executive chairman of Kaupthing, said: 'We are looking for further acquisitions in the UK. We have no brokerage capabilities. Those we are going to build in the near future, either through acquisition or organically.' Kaupthing owns 19.5 per cent of Singer and will offer 316p a share for the rest of the 98-year-old London investment bank. That is 14 per cent higher than the closing share price of 280.5p on 31 March, the day before takeover talks were announced.
Mr Einarsson said: 'This acquisition is a key part of our international growth strategy. Most of our clients have business operations in the UK and we want to service those.'
Singer's chief Tony Shearer will stay on after the deal is completed in mid-July, as will executive directors Jonathan Spence and Warwick Jones.
The deal will effectively rebuild the old Singer business, which has sold off its stockbroking and mergers and acquisitions advisory business in recent years and now focuses on private and commercial banking, asset finance and fund management.
Justin Bates, at Numis, said Singer's 'banking business has some attractive franchises but it makes a relatively poor return on equity. …