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F&C shareholder open to counter-bid after £708m Canadian bank offer

SHARES in funds house F&C Asset Management climbed another 6.1% after its second largest shareholder Standard Life Investments indicated it was open to another bidder emerging to rival BMO Financial Group.

The board of F&C, which has a 100-strong office in Edinburgh, confirmed yesterday that it will recommended investors accept a £708 million cash offer from the Canadian bank.

F&C, which is the inheritor of the renowned Scottish fund manager Ivory & Sime, revealed in a separate announcement that its assets under management stood at £82.1bn at the end of December 2013, down £8bn for the final quarter of the year.

David Cumming, global head of equities at Edinburgh-based SLI, said: "We note that F&C have recommended a cash offer from the Bank of Montreal. The price agreed represents an attractive valuation from the standpoint of the Canadian bank.

"Consequently, we intend to keep our options open should another suitor for F&C emerge."

The comments by F&C's second largest investor, behind insurer Aviva, prompted F&C's shares to rise 7.1p, on top of a 22.9p gain on Monday, to close at 123.5p.

Kieran Poynter, who became chairman of F&C in the summer after US-based financier Edward Bramson stood back, said: "F&C's board of directors believes the offer represents an attractive valuation for F&C shareholders and a positive outcome for employees and clients."

F&C has been hit by fund withdrawals in recent years. Its problems prompted Mr Bramson, an activist, to assume the chairmanship in 2011 in a boardroom coup and overhaul the company.

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