Alea shareholders have rejected the proposed amalgamation by FIN Acquisition at the rescheduled general meeting, held last week.

This puts an end to speculation that a rival could launch a bid.

FIN Acquisition is an investment vehicle formed by the Fortress Investment Group.

Last month, a “preliminary unsolicited approach” to the company was made, and since then it has been linked with a number of hedge funds.

A spokesperson for Alea was quick to dispel any lingering rumours.

“Any rival bidder would have made its move already. It would be a massive execution and represents a massive risk.”

The shareholders’ vote fell just 3% short of the 75% mark required to approve the amalgamation deal.

Fortress will now implement its offer by acquisition, having already secured 61% of Alea’s share capital support – 11% more than the sum required under the initial terms of agreement.

A letter of offer has been issued to all shareholders. They have one month to come to a decision.

Shareholders who approve the acquisition will receive a price of 96.5p per share. Those who opt to reject the offer will see their shares remain on the stock exchange.

Alea shares are currently holding at around 100p, having peaked at 104p two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Fortress emphasised that Alea management would be unaffected by the takeover.

A spokesman for Alea added that the run-off introduced in late 2005 was proceeding as planned.