Tilney Group is understood to be making an eleventh hour bid to hijack Rathbones' proposed merger with Smith & Williamson, has reported.
The planned £2 billion tie-up between Rathbones and Smith & Williamson was confirmed last weekend.
According to City sources cited by Sky News, Tilney, the national wealth manager which has acquired companies such as Towry and Ingenious in the past, is understood to have made an all-cash offer for S&W.
However, S&W's management team, led by former Wealth Manager cover star David Cobb and Kevin Stopps, expressed a desire to pursue a deal with Rathbones rather than Tilney, which is headed by Peter Hall (pictured).
It has been said that the Tilney offer would provide greater certainty as it would be in all cash. Tilney has about £23 billion in assets under management (AUM), which would take the combined business up to £42 billion AUM.
It was revealed last week that Rathbones was in merger talks with S&W, which would potentially create a £55 billion wealth giant.
It is understood that the deal would value the combined company at £2 billion, with Rathbones, which has £36.6 billion of assets under management (AUM), the dominant partner with a market value of £1.4 billion.
Smith & Williamson, which runs £19 billion, has been valued at £600 million. It is owned by a combination of senior management and former and current staff. Canadian firm AGF owns about 33% of the company.
Tilney chief executive Hall has previously revealed that he will be looking to make further acquisitions following the completion of the Towry deal.
Earlier this month the firm swooped on Manchester-based Midas Investment Management's £162 million book of assets.
Tilney has been contacted for comment.