February 26, 2019 / 7:26 AM / 4 months ago

UK's competition watchdog flags concerns over proposed Non-Standard Finance-Provident deal

Feb 26 (Reuters) - Britain’s competition watchdog said on Tuesday it had reasonable grounds for suspecting that a takeover by Non-Standard Finance Plc of Provident Financial Plc would result in the subprime lenders “ceasing to be distinct”.

The watchdog said it had served the companies with an initial enforcement order.

British lender Provident Financial on Monday rejected a 1.3 billion pound ($1.71 billion) takeover bid launched by its former CEO and said it was looking for a better solution to turn around its business.

Smaller rival Non-Standard Finance, led by ex-Provident boss John van Kuffeler, announced on Friday that it had offered to buy Provident, which has run into trouble with regulators worried about the rates it charges on loans. ($1 = 0.7610 pounds) (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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