June 19, 2017 / 6:00 PM / 7 months ago

PE firms to take Britain's Shawbrook private after prolonged battle

(Reuters) - Private equity groups trying to buy British challenger bank Shawbrook Group Plc SHAW.L said on Monday that shareholder acceptance of the takeover had exceeded a key threshold, allowing the buyers to take the lender private.

Marlin Bidco, the buyout vehicle set up by BC Partners and Pollen Street Partners, said it had received valid support for its offer from other Shawbrook shareholders owning a combined 75.6 percent of the company.

Shawbrook declined to comment.

Valid acceptances representing 50 percent of the company were required for the deal to go through with Shawbrook remaining listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Under the deal structure, the company would be de-listed if at least 75 percent of its shareholders accept the offer, with those who did not accept, being part owners of an unlisted entity.

Shawbrook earlier this month rejected a raised and final 868 million pound ($1.1 billion) offer from the private equity groups, which already hold 38.8 percent of the lender.

The consortium first made a bid for Shawbrook in January, offering 307 pence per share, before raising its offer to 330 pence in March. However, so far, Shawbrook’s directors had advised shareholders to reject the offers.

Founded in 2011, London-listed Shawbrook is one of several ‘challenger’ banks to emerge since the financial crisis to fill a gap in small-business lending after larger banks slimmed down to focus on bolstering their capital to meet tougher regulatory requirements.

These challenger banks have increasingly been seen as ripe for takeovers in recent months, bankers who advise on mergers and acquisitions have said, as a prolonged period of low interest rates has squeezed earnings and the pound’s fall has made them cheaper for foreign buyers.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain and Sanjeeban Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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