View more on these topics

Deadline set for Countrywide inquiry

The European Commission says the deadline for its inquiry into private equity group 3i’s proposed 940m acquisition of Countrywide is February 8.

This comes after one of Countrywide’s shareholders, Artisan Partners which has a 7% stake in the firm, attempted to block the move due to concerns that 3i has overlooked much of the estate agent’s potential growth in the next few years.

Standard Life and hedge fund Polygon, which own 3.2% and 7.6% of Countrywide’s shares respectively, have also joined the backlash.

Originally, Countrywide’s shares were to be sold to 3i at 567p but that was seen by Artisan not to “reflect the full and fair value” of the shares. Now, 16.4% of the shareholders are set to rebel against the deal.

The deal is being examined under the EU’s simplified merger review procedure for cases the commission believes do not pose serious competition concerns.

The deal would see part of – of which Countrywide owns 21.5% – being bought out. These shares have become all the more precious since the property website saw its shares rocket by 10%.


Nationwide to increase rates of variable products

Nationwide is increasing the rates on all of its variable rate and tracker mortgage products by 0.25% on February 1. The base mortgage rate will be increased from 6.49% to 6.74%. The society is also increasing the rates on its variable rate savings products at the same time as mortgages. Stuart Bernau, executive director of […]

Make big money

This is a prosperous industry and there are several steps intermediaries can take to boost their earnings in the year ahead, says Richard Coulson

MPLC extends

valuations deal Mortgages PLC has extended its free valuations scheme. It will continue until the end of 2007.

Skipton to host NI roadshow

Skipton is inviting brokers to a series of roadshows in Belfast and Londonderry. The society recently launched an intermediary lending service in Northern Ireland.The host of the roadshows will be Dave Forrest, Skiptons intermediary sales manager for the area, giving brokers the opportunity to meet their local contact face-to-face.Forrest says: We only very recently announced […]

Neptune Global Income: Is Japan the best dividend market in the world?

By George Boyd-Bowman, Fund Manager at Neptune The Neptune Global Income Fund seeks exposure to the very best – and often overlooked – income opportunities from across the world. Unconstrained by benchmarks, the fund currently has 24 per cent invested in Japan, differentiating the high conviction portfolio from many of its peers. Watch Neptune Fund […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up