SHARES in IFG plunged as much as 19pc during early trading yesterday as the financial services company warned that a recent approach may not lead to an offer.
The shares eventually closed down 12.9pc at €1.83 on the Dublin stock exchange where trading was light ahead of Christmas. That valued the company at just under €200m.
The shares tumbled after the company said last week's approach was "highly conditional and preliminary in its nature and that no assurances can be given that a formal offer will be forthcoming or that any transaction will occur."
Shares in Booterstown-based IFG jumped 21pc last Friday when it told the markets that an approach had been made to buy the company which provides pensions and other financial services to companies and individuals in the UK and Ireland. The shares have soared in recent weeks, prompting management to make the statement.
IFG was set up by Joe Moran and Richard Hayes in the 1990s and is one of the few financial services companies to successfully ride the boom and bust.
Allied Irish Banks said earlier this month that IFG chief executive Mark Bourke was moving to AIB to become chief financial officer. Mr Bourke, who has filled the role of CEO at IFG for the past 12 years, will also become an executive director on the bank's board. He will leave IFG at the end of April to take up his new post.
IFG said it had already begun a recruitment process for a new CEO.
It is not the first time IFG has revealed takeover overtures. It said last year it was in talks on a takeover bid for the company with private equity investors Bregal Capital which concluded without a bid after a deal at €1.80 a share became difficult.
It also received a bid for the International division last year which contributes about a third of IFG's operating profits.