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GMP Capital Inc. has temporarily halted plans to gain full ownership of its wealth-management business because of the market volatility brought on by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Last month, GMP unveiled details of an offer to purchase the minority stake in wealth-management division Richardson GMP Ltd. that it doesn’t already own, giving it full ownership of the operation.

On Feb. 26, GMP Capital entered into a non-binding term sheet with Richardson Financial Group Ltd. and both parties anticipated entering into a definitive agreement shortly after the end of a contractual 15-business-day notice period.

But now, the company “no longer expects” the definitive agreement concerning the Richardson GMP transaction to be completed in the time initially anticipated. As a result, the special meeting of common shareholders that had been called for April 21 has been postponed.

“The parties are continuing to work toward entering into a definitive agreement and remain hopeful that they will do so in the future," the company said in a release.

“The company cautions its shareholders and other stakeholders that there is no assurance that any transaction involving Richardson GMP will result from these discussions or on what terms or structure any transaction may occur.”

GMP Capital, along with a group of 162 financial advisers and Winnipeg’s Richardson family, each own about one-third of Richardson GMP, which manages about $30-billion in client assets.

Under the original terms of the offer, advisers would receive two shares of GMP Capital – a Toronto Stock Exchange-listed company – for each share they own in privately held Richardson GMP. To sweeten the offer, the company also set aside an additional $36-million to pay retention bonuses to keep advisers from jumping ship.

If approved, the deal would see the group of advisers own 29.6 per cent of the resulting public company, and existing GMP shareholders 30.7 per cent. The Richardson family would be the largest shareholder with a 39.7-per-cent stake.

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