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Hargreaves Lansdown shares surge after takeover approach rejected

Hargreaves Lansdown has rejected a £4.7 billion takeover approach (PA)
Hargreaves Lansdown has rejected a £4.7 billion takeover approach (PA)

Shares in Hargreaves Lansdown have jumped higher after the firm rejected a £4.7 billion takeover approach from a consortium led by private equity firm CVC Capital and Abu Dhabi’s wealth fund.

Hargreaves saw its stock surge as much as 18% in Thursday morning trading after revealing after market close on Wednesday that it had rebuffed a proposal of 985p a share for being too low.

It marks the latest in a long line of takeover swoops for UK-listed companies as firms on the London Stock Exchange come under siege.

Shopping centre owner Capital & Regional also looks set for a possible takeover tussle after it confirmed on Thursday that it had received an indicative takeover proposal from listed rival and South African specialist Vukile, while NewRiver has also approached its majority shareholder about a possible bid.

There are fears over a mounting crisis on the London market after a swathe of UK-listed firms have been bought out or are defecting abroad.

Hargreaves Lansdown said: “The board confirms that it unanimously rejected the proposal on the basis it substantially undervalues Hargreaves Lansdown and its future prospects.”

The bidding consortium, which also includes private equity firms Nordic Capital, and Platinum Ivy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, confirmed it was “considering a possible offer”.

It had made two approaches to Hargreaves, with the most recent at the end of April.

But Hargreaves said: “The board is focused on executing its strategy and looks forward to updating the market at the full year results on August 9.

“In the meantime, shareholders are advised to take no action.”

The CVC and Abu Dhabi consortium must make an offer or walk away by 5pm on June 19, under City Takeover Panel rules.

Bristol-based Hargreaves oversees £150 billion in customer assets and has 1.8 million customers.

Its shares had recently come under pressure, which saw the group booted out of the prestigious FTSE 100 Index at the end of last year.

But the stock has soared 42% in the past month alone as it has recovered lost ground and were up 5% on Wednesday as bid speculation mounted.