Belfast Telegraph

Shareholders to decide Provident fate by mid-May

Non-Standard Finance has launched a hostile takeover.

NSF wants to take Provident over (PA)
NSF wants to take Provident over (PA)

Non-Standard Finance has set a closing date for shareholders in Provident to accept its £1.3 billion hostile takeover offer for the firm, and insisted it is on track to receive regulatory approval for the deal.

Investors in doorstep lender Provident Financial will have until May 15 to register acceptances for the deal, a deadline that will not be extended.

NSF also said it has discussed its plans with the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority and expects that the associated conditions to the offer will be satisfied by June 5.

The FCA has raised concerns about the deal, but NSF on Monday insisted that it has received “change of control approval” when required in the past, and it has never been the subject of “any sanction, fine or special supervision by any regulator”.

Our offer and transformation plan for Provident is compelling John van Kuffeler, NSF chief executive

This, according to NSF, is in “sharp contrast” with Provident, which it said remains under enhanced supervision and where all three of its business divisions have been subject to regulatory investigation, fines or other enforcement measures.

NSF has acceptances for over 50% of Provident’s shares, including from Woodford Investment Management, Invesco Asset Management and Marathon Asset Management, who together hold a 49% stake.

However, the level of support has not moved upwards for several weeks.

John van Kuffeler, NSF chief executive, said: “Our offer and transformation plan for Provident is compelling and will benefit customers and employees as well as unlock substantial value for shareholders.

“It represents a clear alternative to the status quo offered by the Provident board and, having already received acceptances from shareholders holding over 50% of Provident’s shares, we urge all remaining Provident shareholders to accept our offer without delay.”

For its part, Provident chairman Patrick Snowball has accused NSF of “unlawful” activity and urged shareholders to take no action over the “dreadful deal” on the table.

He has claimed that NSF’s £1.3 billion offer for the firm resembles “more of a coup d’etat than a hostile takeover”.