Alchemy acquires Williams De Broe?

Reports suggest that the private equity firm is a frontrunnuer for the acquisition of stockbroker Williams De Broe.

Private equity firm Alchemy Partners has been successful in its bid for stockbroker Williams De Broe, according to the Daily Telegraph. This has not been confirmed.

Alchemy is believed to have acquired a majority stake from Dutch Bank ING Group which owns 82.5 per cent of Williams de Broe through its subsidiary Banque Bruxelles Lambert. The remainder belongs to the stockbroker's senior management.

Belgian banks Artesia Banking Corporation and Bank van Lanschot and British firms Altium Capital, Barclays Private Equity and Candover were all believed to have been interested in the acquisition.

ING is selling Williams de Broe in order to concentrate its investment banking activities on Charterhouse, which it acquired from CCF last year. ING's other investment banking division, Barings, is being scaled down. Alchemy is expected to steer clear of any involvement in the day-to-day running of Williams de Broe.

The deal would mark the private equity firm's biggest move into financial services. It has been suggested that the stake in the stockbroking firm would have cost Alchemy between £50 million and £100 million.

Williams de Broe was founded 132 years ago. The company has about 300 staff, with offices in London, Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh.

Earlier this month Alchemy Partners backed the E227m management buyout of Anglian Group plc, the UK building manufacturing company.