What causes an asset management M&A deal to fail?

20 February 2024
| By Laura Dew |
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“Unacceptable circumstances”, a lack of shareholder support and regulatory delays are among reasons for M&A delays in the fund management industry recently.

Earlier this week, GQG Partners’ chief executive Tim Carver said M&A activity is “very, very hard” after the firm failed to secure the acquisition of Pacific Current Group last year.

“I’m fairly sceptical of M&A activity in this industry as it is very, very hard to pull off,” he said.

Money Management explores some of the recent acquisitions in the fund management space and how they played out:

Pacific Current Group 

Last July, Regal Partners made a bid for Pacific Current Group for $10.77 per share, only to be followed by GQG Partners – which already held a 4 per cent stake – a few days later with a bid for $11 per share. Regal then withdrew its bid in September after being disappointed by Pacific’s engagement with the bid. 

This left GQG as the favoured bid, but its deal was also rejected after failing to achieve the support of Pacific’s largest shareholder, River Capital. Pacific ultimately decided not to sell up.

Regal 

Hot on the M&A trail last year, Regal put the failed Pacific Current Group bid behind it and went on to have a successful acquisition of 100 per cent of PM Capital Group in December, and also entered a strategic partnership for 50 per cent of Taurus Funds in the preceding month. 

The firm itself was formed from the merger of Regal Funds Management and VGI Partners in June 2022.

PM Capital

Prior to being acquired by Regal Partners, PM Capital entered a war of words with Wilson Asset Management over the acquisition of PM Capital Asian Opportunities Fund (PAF). After multiple bids, a declaration of “unacceptable circumstances” and an alleged breach of the Corporations Act by PM Capital, Wilson successfully won the battle in January 2022.

Perpetual 

In January 2023, Perpetual acquired rival fund manager Pendal for $2.5 billion, creating a combined firm with around $200 billion in assets under management. Shares in Perpetual have fallen 6 per cent since the acquisition, and the combined firm has seen outflows, leading ratings agencies to question if it was successful. 

Nevertheless, Perpetual – which will release its full-year 2023 results next week – has reiterated it is progressing well with the integration and expecting to deliver $80 million in run-rate expense synergies. 

It also received a $3 billion bid from Washington H. Soul Pattinson, but rejected this as it felt it “materially undervalued” the business.

This is one of several acquisitions completed by Perpetual, having already acquired Trillium Asset Management and a 75 per cent stake in Barrow Hanley in 2020. 

AMP 

In a bid to restructure the business, AMP disposed of two parts of its real estate business: its international infrastructure equity business Collimate Capital was sold to DigitalBridge Investment in February 2023, and its real estate and domestic infrastructure business was sold to Dexus Funds Management in March 2023. 

However, the Dexus bid was initially delayed by matters regarding China Life AMP Asset Management, which pushed completion out by seven months from September 2022 to March 2023, and resulted in a lower purchase price. 

As a result of the delay, AMP agreed to lower the purchase price by 10 per cent to $225 million, and forfeit the remaining potential funds under management (FUM) based earnout.

 

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