The board of financial services giant Hargreaves Lansdown is “unanimously recommending” a private equity takeover offer of £5.4 billion to shareholders.

The Bristol-based firm had turned down two previous bids from a consortium including CVC, Nordic Capital and Platinum Ivy, the latter of which is owned by Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund.

The consortium has increased its offer for the DIY investment platform from 985p per share to £11.40, an acceptable price to the Hargreaves Lansdown board which has now requested an extension for the private equity firms to formalise their offer beyond the original deadline set for Wednesday.

Co-founder Peter Hargreaves, the company’s largest shareholder, slammed its former management team in the Financial Times recently for presiding over a “shambles” which saw its share price plummet from £24 in 2019 to £7 earlier this year.

Following the takeover approaches, it has rebounded to sit at £11.40 today.

“It’s a disgrace that it’s come to this. It was classified as one of the best-run companies in the UK 10 years ago,” said Hargreaves.

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Chris Hill was chief executive from 2017 to August 2023, while profit before tax fell 8% to £182.5m in the six months to the end of December.

Founded in 1981 by billionaire Hargreaves and Stephen Lansdown, Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK’s biggest stockbroker. It claims to execute 34% of trades in UK companies and 56% of overseas trades.

The founders collectively own 26% of the company. The takeover offer is believed to allow shareholders to remain invested in the company when it is taken private.

Last year the company appointed Alison Platt as chair and Dan Olley as CEO.

With 1.8 customers, it now oversees £150bn in customer assets and saw total revenue jump to £199.7m in the first three months of the year, up from £188.1m.

It looks set to return to the FTSE 100 index at the next London Stock Exchange rebalancing.

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