LONDON (Reuters) - British wealth manager Rathbone Brothers (RAT.L) said on Saturday it was in exclusive talks with UK-based financial services provider Smith & Williamson over a possible all share merger.
“Whilst these discussions have been underway for some time and the boards of both Rathbones and Smith & Williamson are confident that the combination would bring meaningful benefits for the stakeholders of both businesses, discussions are ongoing and there can be no certainty any transaction will be agreed,” Rathbone said in a statement.
“However, if agreed, any such transaction will be subject to the approval of shareholders.”
Earlier Sky News reported the 2 billion pound ($2.6 billion) merger would be structured as a takeover by Rathbone, attributing a valuation of close to 600 million pounds to Smith and Williamson.
The deal, which would bring together two firms employing about 3,000 people, would see Smith and Williamson hand shares in the combined group to its employees who own the majority of the company, Sky said.
Rathbone said a further announcement would be “made as and when appropriate”.
Last month Rathbone posted a 16.7 percent rise in first-half pretax profit to 26.6 million pounds, boosted by market gains and a rise in assets under management.
($1 = 0.7769 pounds)
Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Toby Chopra