Exclusive-Hargreaves Lansdown’s biggest shareholder open to take company private, sources say

By Thomson Reuters May 23, 2024 | 9:32 AM

By Amy-Jo Crowley

LONDON(Reuters) – Peter Hargreaves, the biggest shareholder in UK retail investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown, is open to taking the company private and has held talks with investors recently about a transaction, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Hargreaves Lansdown said on Thursday it rejected a 4.67 billion pound ($5.95 billion) takeover proposal from a consortium led by CVC Advisers and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, saying it “substantially” undervalued its prospects.

The approach from the consortium proposed a price of 985 pence a share.

Hargreaves, co-founder of Hargreaves Lansdown, wants to hold on to his about 19.8% stake and would prefer a take private at a higher price, one of the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Peter Hargreaves said in a statement to Reuters: “I would not wish to be attributed to any comment you might dream up.”

He has in the last two years been considering options for his stake, including taking the company private, a second person and a fourth source said.

He is the largest shareholder with a 19.78% stake, based on LSEG data.

Hargreaves Lansdown, which had a market capitalisation of 4.64 billion pounds ($5.91 billion) at the close on May 22, declined to comment.

($1 = 0.7852 pounds)

(Reporting by Amy-Jo Crowley. Additional reporting by Anousha Sakoui and Alun John. Editing by Elisa Martinuzzi and Jane Merriman)