An absolute majority of shareholders in the London-based investment company Capital Trust has accepted a buyout offer from a group of senior managers, a source close to the company says.

‘Over 90 per cent of the shareholders accepted the offer,’ the source said. The offer closes on 31 May. The group conducting the buyout of Capital Tnist, which is active in the Middle East, consists of three board directors and an executive director.

Capital Trust’s paid-up capital is $35 million. The buyout team’s first offer was for $115 a share, which would have cost it about $40 million. Following an independent fairness report on the company, the offer was raised to $118.35 a share and it was this price that the majority of the shareholders accepted.

The company has 53 corporate and private shareholders. Western shareholders include the US’ Alex Brown & Sons and State Street Research, Germany’s BHF-Bank and Kredietbank SA Luxembourgeoise. Arab shareholders include Hassib Sabbagh, one of the founders of the Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC).

Capital Trust is the financial adviser for a $1,600 million upgrade of utilities at the Saudi industrial cities of Jeddah and Yanbu and is also co-managing a share placement for the refurbishment of Beirut’s Phoenicia hotel (MEED 24:5:96).

It was not immediately clear how Capital Trust’s business would be affected by the success of the buyout, which appears to have sprung from differences within the management on whether the company should aim to grow as a Middle Eastern institution or specialise as an investment firm mainly targeting the US (MEED 15:3:96).