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Will Quindell PLC Shareholders Benefit From Founder Rob Terry’s New Venture In Daniel Stewart Securities PLC?

Quindell (LSE: QPP) founder Rob Terry, who quit the company last November, has recently come back on to the radar of the investing community. And it could be good news or bad news for Quindell shareholders.

You may recall that Terry’s departure followed a precipitous fall in Quindell’s share price, amidst claims that his empire of “disruptive technology” was built on over-priced acquisitions and dirty accounting. There were also claims of insider dealing: Terry had been a seller of Quindell shares at a time when the company’s joint broker had resigned but the market had not been informed. Subsequently, Terry further sold down his shareholding, with many assuming he ultimately sold completely.

However, he’s back with an investment vehicle called Quob Park Estate, which describes itself as a “core shareholder” of Quindell. Quob Park Estate has also built a 9% stake in AIM microcap Daniel Stewart, the original advisor and broker to Quindell when Terry floated it on the stock market.

Quob Park Estate says it is “working with and investing in companies that are focused on the benefits of Digital Disruption”, and that “whilst remaining private equity focused, in the future we will open our doors to retail investors”. Terry recently told the Telegraph: “for that we will need to work with an FCA [Financial Conduct Authority] regulated firm, and I hope that that firm will be Daniel Stewart.”

It has also been announced that Terry intends to seek FCA approval to increase his interest in Daniel Stewart to above 10%. In the interview with the Telegraph, he said: “I’m absolutely positive that FCA approval will come through in the normal timescales”. If it does, Terry will, effectively, be cleared of the allegations of serious wrongdoing at Quindell (beyond the aggressive accounting the company has already held its hands up to) and the shares could rise. Conversely, a rejection by the FCA could hit the shares, as it might — unless explicitly stated that the rejection was solely on the grounds of insider dealing — imply a possible further can of worms at Quindell.

Quindell is set to complete the £637m sale of its large Professional Services Division to Australian firm Slater & Gordon, and anticipates returning up to £500m to shareholders. The sale will leave Quindell with a core of telematics-related businesses and a small ragbag of other businesses.

According to the Financial Times, Quindell has already rejected a £50-£60m offer for the telematics businesses from a connected-vehicle company owned by City financier Edmund Truell. Of all Quindell’s assets, telematics, which uses black boxes to monitor driver behaviour and broker car insurance, is the very essence of the “Digital Disruption” opportunities that Quob Park Estate is looking to focus its funds on.

Terry and Quob Park Estate already have around £50m of capital. By opening the doors to retail investors, and/or bringing on board third party co-investors, Terry could put himself in a position to make an offer for Quindell’s telematics businesses. Quindell’s shares could rise if Terry made a bid in excess of the rumoured £50-£60m Truell offer.

But Terry could go down another route with telematics, which could hurt Quindell. His venture before Quindell was Innovation Group. As with Quindell, he left Innovation under a cloud. When he set up Quindell, he promptly poached a number of Innovation’s key personnel and associates. If Terry set up a new telematics business, and poached Quindell personnel, he could undermine the value of Quindell’s business.

The reappearance of comeback king Terry, the news of his continuing interest in Quindell, the investment focus of Quob Park Estate and the stakebuilding in Daniel Stewart lead to some intriguing possibilities that could affect Quindell shareholders for better or worse. However things turn out, though, it’s clear that the founder and ex-boss hasn’t walked quietly away.

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G A Chester has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.