Foundation moves to protect stake in parent company

The Northern Rock Foundation has appointed financial advisers to protect its 15 per cent stake in its troubled parent company, should the bank be taken over.

The foundation, which is the largest shareholder in Northern Rock, has commissioned corporate finance consultants Europa Partners to advise it on how to proceed.

As a precautionary measure, the foundation is contacting other shareholders to emphasise that any offer for the bank should be “fair and reasonable”. Letters will also be sent to MPs and government officials to ensure they are aware of the importance of the foundation when considering the future of the bank.

Alastair Balls, chair of trustees at the Northern Rock Foundation, said: “We are concerned to see that a transaction is not concluded on unfavourable terms simply to meet a self-imposed timetable, to the detriment of the charity, its work and jobs in the north.”

Paul Palmer, professor of voluntary sector management at Cass Business School, described the decision as a “wise and proactive move”.

“The management and trustees should be congratulated on taking this measure to protect the interests of the charity,” he said. “Too often charity trustees leave their business acumen behind.”

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