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CI weighs new takeover offer for Amvescap

Uncertain whether Canadian company will be able to fund the bid, analyst says

Reuters News Agency

LONDON -- British mutual fund company Amvescap PLC said yesterday that it had not received a fresh takeover offer from CI Fund Management Inc. The news came after CI's adviser revealed the Toronto-based firm was considering an approach.

"On July 6 Amvescap fully responded to [CI's] expression of interest. We have received no further communication from CI," an Amvescap spokesman said.

The investment company rejected an offer for all or part of its business by CI on July 6 and has appointed a new chief executive officer.

Shares in Amvescap rose yesterday after a newly appointed adviser to CI -- Fenchurch Advisory Partners -- told Reuters News Agency that the Canadian company was considering a new offer. An offer was among a number of options, a Fenchurch representative said.

Amvescap shares closed up 3.5 per cent to £4.27 ($9.14), giving the company a market capitalization of about £3.46-billion.

CI confirmed late yesterday afternoon that it made a number of attempts to enter talks with Amvescap over a possible offer for the company and that it will continue to review all its options.

"The board of [CI] has not ruled out any option as part of this review, including making an offer for Amvescap without the recommendation of the board of Amvescap," CI said in a statement.

Fenchurch was appointed last week to advise CI about a fresh approach, Fenchurch managing director John Williams said.

"It is not hostile, but they [CI] are keen to engage and they see something to be done here," he said.

Bridgewell Securities analyst Geoff Miller said it was not yet clear if CI could afford to buy Amvescap.

The Canadian firm would have to shoulder the task of turning around a business hit by heavy outflows in the United States and debt stemming from a financial scandal last year.

"The question mark remains whether CI would be able to fund the bid," Mr. Miller said.

Amvescap agreed to a $450-million (U.S.) settlement with U.S. authorities last year following charges it allowed improper trading practices in some of its U.S. funds.

Amvescap, due to report interim results today, appointed a new CEO, Martin Flanagan, last month. The move was seen by markets at the time as a sign the company was not putting itself up for sale.

Mr. Flanagan, a former co-CEO at rival company Franklin Resources Inc., will become president and CEO after a long search.

The Sunday Telegraph reported on the weekend that CI was gearing up for another bid and had appointed advisers, including legal firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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