Shares in proposed merger partners Australian Wealth Management and Select Management Funds have risen again to near-record levels, despite heavy trading activity, as some shareholders decided to take healthy profits

About 3 per cent of AWM shares have changed hands in the past week. The share price, which had been as low as 82c last year and $1.50 prior to the merger announcement on January 19, moved back over $2 yesterday. The merger will not take effect until mid-year. As reported last week, Andrew Barnes, the managing director of AWM, bought 25,000 shares on January 10 on behalf of a family super fund, Strathwest Superannuation Fund, for an average of $1.45 a share, according to filings with ASX. He also bought 22,000 AWM shares on December 7 in his own name at about $1.32. A total of 8 million AWM shares changed hands last week and further 700,000 on market yesterday. At Select, Ian Griffiths, a long-standing executive director, bought 87,286 Select shares on November 24 last at an average price of $4.46. Both companies announced yesterday morning that they had executed their merger implemented agreement, which is subject to various conditions including: approval from Select shareholders and court approval, an expert’s opinion on the value of the bid for Select, due diligence from both sides and agreement from both side not to solicit an alternative bid. AWM is bidding seven of its own shares for every two Select shares, which directors said was based on prices current before the bid announcement and represented a zero premium. Both company’s shares have risen 33 per cent following the announcement. Select shares were up 2c to $7.02 yesterday afternoon and AWM was down 1c to $2.01 – maintaining the equilibrium.

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