Three acquisition proposals have come to Italian asset manager Arca sgr’s shareholders in the last few days, two of them from US Private equity firms Atlas Merchant Capital and Centerbridge while the third came from the Italian Stock Exchange-listed asset manager Anima sgr. All are said to value Arca sgr from 800 million to one billion euros, MF Milano Finanza and Il Sole 24 Ore wrote.
Chaired by Guido Cammarano and led by ceo Ugo Loser, Arca sgr is now owned by a group of italian cooperative banks wiht the controlling stake of 19.99% each in the hands of Banca Popolare di Vicenza, Bper and Veneto Banca. The asset management company had assets under management for 28.2 billion euros at the end of 2014 (from 21.1 billions at the end of 2013).
Atlas merchant would be at its first investment in Italy while Centerbridge bought Banca Farmafactoring from Apax Partners last April (see here a previous post by BeBeez).
Centerbridge is said to bid for a 40% stake of the company with the rest remaining in the hands of a group of italian cooperative banks. As far as Atlas Merchant is concerned, it is said to bid for a 60% while Anima sgr is interested in buying the entire capital of Arca sgr.
Arca sgr should appoint next week its financial advisors for the deal while Atlas top manager are expected to meet Arca’s shareholders and management on November 18 and 19.
Bids might rise in number in the meantime as many other private equity funds are said to be watching the dossier. Firms with experience in the financial sector in Italy are for example the ones who won Istituto Centrale delle Banche Popolari (Icbpi)‘s auction last June who are Advent International, Bain Capital and Clessidra (see here a previous post by BeBeez).
The latter is the same Italian private equity fund who built up Anima sgr itself, starting from the acquisition of a controlling stake in Prima sgr (which incorporated all Monte dei Paschi di Siena’s asset management activities ) and adding Bipiemme Gestioni sgr (gruppo Banca Popolare di Milano) , the oldest Anima sgr (the Banca Popolare di Milano’s asset manager delisted from the Italian Stock Exchange in 2009) , Aperta sgr (Credito Valtellinese group) and Lussemburgo Gestioni sa. Anima sgr was listed at the Milan Stock Exchange in April 2014 (see here a previous post by BeBez).
Strong bidders for Icbpi were also CVC Capital Partners and Permira who in turn might then be interested in Arca sgr. CVC also bid for Pioneer Investments last year together with the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation. The auction was then won by Santander Asset management joined by Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic private equity funds.
Apax Partners might watch the dossier too after the sale of Banca Farmafactoring and above all after the very good result it had some years ago with the deal on Azimut sgr, another big independent asset manager that Apax had listed at the Milan Stock Exchange. Finally Apollo Management , BC Partners and Cinven might be good counterparts in the deal.