June 24 Britain's Takeover Panel has launched a secret probe into whether two investors in the Daisy group have been colluding over their combined shareholding in the telecoms company, Sky News reported on Tuesday.
The panel has written to Invesco Perpetual and Oakley Capital, which together own about 36 percent of Daisy, to ask for their views about whether they should be held to be acting in concert, the report said, citing banking sources.
Under British regulations, any investor or group of investors deemed to be a so-called concert party can be forced to make an offer to purchase the remaining shares in a listed company if they hold a stake of at least 30 percent.
If it is proved that the two investors are working in tandem, the regulator can also ask them to reduce their holdings in the company to below 30 percent.
Invesco Perpetual owns slightly more than 22 percent of the 385 million pounds telecoms group, the latest filings by the fund manager show. Oakley holds a roughly 14 percent of stake, Sky News reported.
The probe was started because Invesco is a major shareholder in Oakley's listed vehicle, which is also listed on the London Stock Exchange, the report said.
The affair surrounding Daisy's ownership may result in public statements from the parties involved, Sky reported unspecified insiders as saying, with a resolution to the situation possible within days.
(Reporting by Tasim Zahid in Bangalore; Editing by Richard Chang)