Ireland's oldest stockbroker is being sold to Chinese investors

The deal represents a major payday for Goodbody’s owners.

By Peter Bodkin Editor, Fora

THE OWNERS OF Goodbody, Ireland’s oldest stockbroking firm, have agreed to sell the company to a consortium of Chinese investors.

The deal, details of which were first revealed earlier this year, will see the new buyers take full ownership of the stockbroker for an undisclosed sum. It was previously reported that Goodbody could be valued at €150 million in the transaction.

The consortium of buyers is being led by the Zhongze Group, which is backed by the Chinese state, while it also includes an asset management firm owned by the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

The takeover will need to be cleared by Irish regulators, however it is expected to conclude before the end of the year if it is given the green light.

In a statement today, Goodbody said it would continue to be headquartered in Dublin while its branding and senior management would remain in place. The firm is the second-largest stockbroker in the country behind Davy.

A bridge

Goodbody managing director Roy Barrett said the deal “facilitates the creation of a bridge from east to west and vice-versa for institutional capital seeking opportunities in both regions”.

The firm opened a UK subsidiary in 2015, and the deal would support its “ambitious expansion plans” both in the British market and in Ireland, the statement said.

The Chinese buyers will get access to the Irish and UK financial services sectors while limiting their exposure to Brexit fallout thanks to the firm’s Dublin base.

Goodbody is 51% owned by Kerry-headquartered financial services giant Fexco, which is set to receive a substantial windfall after paying €24 million for its share of the stockbroker from the crisis-hit AIB seven years ago.

The remainder of the stockbroker is owned by Goodbody staff and management.

The firm was already a major beneficiary from the sale of the Irish Stock Exchange to the Amsterdam-based Euronext for €137 million. Goodbody, along with rivals Davy and Investec, previously owned the local exchange.

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