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Provident urges shareholders to reject £1.3bn NSF bid

Provident Financial Group has called on its shareholders to reject the “risky and flawed” £1.3bn bid from rival doorstep lender Non-Standard Finance (NSF).

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The two firms have been locked in a war of words over the proposed takeover and, over the weekend, Provident issued a 47-page rebuttal of its smaller rival’s bid. It comes after Provident’s board originally rebuffed the bid in February.

 

It warned Non-Standard Finance has not undertaken transactions of this size and complexity and its track record is “one of significant value destruction”.

 

Provident also agreed to appoint a new Vanquis Bank managing director, Neil Chandler, who will join in April, along with a new Vanquis Bank chairman, Robert East. Ex-Cattles boss East will also join the Provident board as a non-executive director alongside former Wonga director Graham Lindsay.

 

Provident chairman Patrick Snowball said NSF’s offer would have a “negative and destabilising impact” on the company, should it be concluded.

 

In response, NSF chief executive John van Kuffeler – who himself is a former Provident executive – branded Provident’s new appointees “specialists in failure” and added the company was being led by “a management team with no credible vision for the future”.

 

Van Kuffeler added: “Our offer will create a leading non-standard finance group with strong positions in all four main segments of the sector and a management team with significantly more relevant experience than that of Provident.”

 

Snowball said: “The Provident board believes that the offer would be value destructive and that the arguments put forward by NSF do not take into account the significant operational progress made by Provident’s management team. Accordingly, the Provident board unanimously believes the offer is not in the best interests of Provident shareholders or customers and should be firmly rejected.”

 

Shareholders have until 8 May to accept the offer.

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