The Bank of Butterfield, the Bermuda-based offshore private banking group, has bought Leopold Joseph, the London-based private bank best known for advising the Rolling Stones, for 51.5 million. Butterfield offered 950p per share, 44 per cent above the prevailing price last September, just before Leopold Joseph announced it was putting itself up for sale. More than 30 bidders expressed an interest.
Leopold Joseph, founded in London by a German-Jewish émigré 85 years ago, is a the latest of a string of purchases by Butterfield, which acquired Matheson Bank and CIBC Private Bank in Guernsey in 2001. It had acquired businesses belonging to Leopold Joseph in the Bahamas last year. The Bank of Butterfield intends to use Leopold Joseph as a platform for expanding its private banking business.
Leopold Joseph has struggled to make money for many years. A boardroom struggle over whether or not to sell the bank saw CEO David Fletcher depart in the mid-1990s. The current chairman, Robin Herbert, owns 20.4 per cent of the bank.