THE biggest single shareholder in mid-size life insurer Clearview Wealth will resist a $220 million takeover, labelling the private equity offer "wholly inadequate".
The listed Clearview has nevertheless been put in play by Crescent Capital Partners' 50?-a-share all-cash offer.
But investment house Guinness Peat Group, which has a 47.8 per cent stake in Clearview, is likely to hold out for a higher offer. "The price offered represents a substantial discount to the fair value of Clearview Wealth and is wholly inadequate," GPG said in a statement.
Shares in Clearview yesterday jumped more than 15 per cent to 53.5? after the offer.
Crescent Capital's move suggests the next round of wealth management consolidation is under way. This week Westpac-owned BT Financial flagged a "land grab" in wealth management and predicted acquisitions and increased investment, mostly as banks positioned themselves for a slice of the surging superannuation and wealth pie.
Clearview chairman Ray Kellerman said the life insurer's board was in the process of considering details of the conditional and unsolicited offer.
"Further information will be provided to the market and shareholders once the board has completed a careful assessment of the offer," Mr Kellerman said. "At this stage we are advising shareholders to take no action in respect of their shares in Clearview."
As the only small financial services company with a life insurance manufacturing capability, Clearview has long been seen as a prime takeover target. It has about $1.5 billion in funds under management from which product fees are generated.
Crescent already has a 12 per cent stake in Clearview from various put-and-call options. However, this means broader turnover in the stock is limited.
Crescent Capital managing partner Michael Alscher said the offer gave Clearview shareholders a chance to sell some or all of their shareholding at a premium in a company that had "low historical trading volumes and liquidity".
"We have a strong track record in growing businesses and we are keen to work with ClearView's current management," Mr Alscher said.
GPG has previously flagged an "orderly realisation" of its investments over time.