FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP Prudential is in talks to sell its private equity division PPM Capital to the company's management team, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
According to the paper, sources have said PPM Capital hopes to close the deal by the end of the year. PPM Capital has about £1.4bn of allocated funds under management to invest in private equity, and only last week the fund, which is run by managing director Neil MacDougall, acquired Azzuri Communications from rival 3i for £182m.
It is not clear why PPM Capital's management, which invests in companies over a three- to five-year period, has now decided to opt for a buyout of the private equity division. Last year, Prudential segregated its private equity businesses to allow its direct investment team to carve out a separate identity.
The fund of funds business, which allows Prudential to access private equity opportunities outside the core remit of its own private equity business, was renamed PPM Managers, while PPM Ventures was rebranded PPM Capital.
It is possible the uncertainty caused by Aviva's recent takeover attempt for Prudential may have triggered the decision by PPM Capital to seek independence. One source is quoted as saying: "If Prudential gets taken over, the buyer might have their own plans for PPM Capital, such as merging it with their own private equity wing or closing it down."
COMPANIES WILL BE given an opportunity to influence the shape of the controversial new national savings scheme at a surprise summit, the new Pensions Minister revealed yesterday, reports The Times.
James Purnell, who took up the role after a recent Cabinet reshuffle, said the meeting would be held in late July, just four months after the Government’s last pensions summit. Purnell will meet stakeholders, such as insurers and unions, in the weeks before the summit.
The Government’s plan for personal accounts, through which workers will save for their retirement, aroused controversy because employers would be forced to contribute 3% of wages to the accounts, which are due to be set up by 2012.
Companies have called the contribution a “tax on jobs” and have claimed that it would increase the cost of providing pensions by as much as £2bn each year. There has also been disagreement over whether the accounts should be provided and administered by the Government, a few large trusts or existing insurers.
THE GOVERNMENT promised yesterday to make "sweeping changes" to company law to make it easier for smaller firms in particular to do business, reports The Guardian.
The trade and industry secretary, Alistair Darling, published a reform bill that he estimated would save companies £250m a year, including £100m for small businesses.
One of the measures will allow directors to use a service address to protect them from extremists. Darling said the government had tried to strike an appropriate balance between giving shareholders access to directors and protecting people from attack.
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