UK – Edinburgh Fund Managers is believed to be nearing an agreement regarding its sale.

The Scottish asset manager hinted at the beginning of July that it was in takeover talks, saying: “The Board continues to review its strategic options including discussions which may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company.”

Several companies have been mooted as potential buyers. Indeed, the original statement appeared to have been prompted by a report in the Glasgow Herald newspaper that ISIS Asset Management was in talks to buy EFM. Britannic Group plc has also been talked of as a potential bidder. The Financial Times, however, reported at the weekend Aberdeen Asset Management is set to buy Edinburgh. All the parties mentioned declined to comment on the speculation.

Edinburgh Fund Managers has come under scrutiny this year as its assets under management have fallen sharply. As at the end of March, EFM managed 3.9 billion pounds (5.6 billion euros), down from over seven billion pounds (10 billion euros) at the beginning of 2002. It said that the decline in assets was due to market conditions and the loss of a 1.1 billion euro mandate for the Edinburgh Investment Trust.

Last month EFM made headlines once more when it lost its UK head of equities, Robert Waugh, and UK equities investment manager, Peter Cockburn, to rival Scottish Widows Investment Partnership.

The Edinburgh Fund Managers Group has a market capitalisation of around 25 million pounds (36 million euros).