Non-Standard Finance Plc (NSF) said on Wednesday it would press ahead with its £1.3 billion hostile takeover bid for Bradford-based rival Provident Financial despite securing the support of only 53.5% of Provident shareholders.
NSF said its offer was now unconditional.
The 53.5% is significantly short of a 90% target set by NSF when it originally made its offer, but NSF said it had now lowered the acceptance level to 50% plus one Provident share.
“NSF Board is now approaching the Provident Board again to establish a pragmatic and constructive dialogue, so that, as and when the remaining conditions are satisfied, the interests of all stakeholders will be safeguarded,” NSF said in a statement.
In a statement, Provident Financial said: “The Provident board … re-confirms that it continues not to recommend the offer and strongly advises all Provident shareholders to continue to take no action in relation to the NSF offer.”
A Provident spokesperson told The Financial Times: “This deal is not done.
“In three months, NSF has added just 3.5% of support, which speaks volumes.
“Three regulators still need to bless this and shareholders should continue to reject this woeful offer.”
The deal needs support from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, as well as the competition watchdog.
The NSF bid is being led by its CEO John van Kuffeler, who is a former boss of Provident.
Van Kuffeler said: “We are pleased to have passed today’s important milestone and are focused on satisfying all remaining conditions as soon as possible so that we can start to unlock substantial value for shareholders and restore Provident’s business culture for the benefit of its customers and employees.
“We have been, and are continuing to engage with Provident shareholders and hope those who have not yet done so will join us by accepting our Offer.
“We are excited at the prospect of working with the many talented management and staff at Provident, a number of whom will know me as a former colleague, to help us build a brighter future for the benefit of all stakeholders.”