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Liontrust to acquire GAM Holding AG 


Liontrust, the specialist fund management group, has announced that it has conditionally agreed to acquire the entire issued share capital of GAM Holding AG (GAM), a global investment management firm with GAM’s Investment Management division having AuMA of CHF23.3 billion (GBP20.9 billion) as at 31 March 2023. 

The firm writes that the move creates a global asset manager with GBP53 billion in AuMA on a pro forma basis, and accelerates the development of Liontrust by meeting all seven of the firm’s strategic objectives. 

The firm writes that the proposed acquisition, before transaction and re-organisation costs, is expected to be significantly earnings enhancing with regards to adjusted diluted earnings per share for the financial year ending 31 March 2025 (being the first full year post-completion) and in future years.  

The consideration will be satisfied by the issue of 9.4 million new ordinary shares in Liontrust, and it is expected that GAM shareholders will own approximately 12.6 per cent. of the combined group on completion. The proposed acquisition is expected to complete in the 4th quarter of 2023.  

The proposed acquisition broadens Liontrust’s fund range and asset classes, including in fixed income, thematic equities and alternatives, the firm says. “This provides a platform for growth by providing enhanced client solutions globally and reduces the correlation of returns across the fund range through increased diversification.”

Some 12 funds will have assets of more than GBP1 billion (seven managed by Liontrust and five by GAM) and both asset managers have a heritage of responsible investing, the firm writes.

The acquisition also strengthens distribution, with a global expansion with 62 per cent of GAM’s AuMA sourced from continental Europe while Liontrust writes that it is a leading asset manager in the UK with the sixth strongest brand (Source: Broadridge).

The move increases Liontrust’s physical presence in Europe, including a long history in Switzerland, and provides offices in Asia and the US and therefore a platform for expansion in those areas, the firm writes, and  creates a broader client base for the combined group’s funds globally and benefits from the existing strong relationships with distributors of both asset managers; 

Another benefit according to Liontrust is that the acquisition enhances investment talent,

adding experienced investment teams, including nine fund managers rated A to AAA by Citywire.

By AuM, 75 per cent of GAM’s funds were in the first or second quartile of their respective sectors over three and five years to 31 March 2023. 

Liontrust will provide an attractive home for the active fund managers at GAM, the firm writes, adding that they will benefit from Liontrust’s focus on independent, distinct processes; strong risk and compliance culture and framework; delivery across sales and marketing; a strong brand; financial stability; and the support provided by the business processes and infrastructure.   

GAM has reached agreement in principle to transfer all third-party fund management services clients serviced out of Luxembourg and Switzerland to a specialist asset servicing company active across Europe, with further details to be announced by GAM in due course. 

The Proposed Acquisition of GAM will accelerate Liontrust’s strategic progress and growth through the broader investment capability and global distribution of the enlarged company, the firm says. 

Liontrust will provide an environment to enable the investment teams to focus on managing their portfolios without distractions within a strong risk and compliance framework and with the support of the rest of the business to deliver performance and a growth in assets, the firm says.  

The broad range of funds and asset classes will enhance Liontrust’s product range. The expanded range will offer the potential to grow the combined client base and provides Liontrust with differentiated performance across the fund range through the market cycle. 

GAM’s existing product offering is complementary to Liontrust’s especially in fixed income and alternatives. GAM will strengthen Liontrust’s fixed income offering, adding capabilities in: Asset Backed securities, Emerging Markets debt, Global Credit, Global Rates Catastrophe bonds and Insurance Linked Securities. Equities will continue to be the largest product for the enlarged company, with GAM adding and strengthening capabilities in: Asia, Japan and Emerging Markets, Thematic Global Equities, Europe, Luxury Brands and UK Income. GAM will also expand the multi-asset and alternatives propositions and provide a capability in wealth management.   

This increased product depth will be expected to support growth in Liontrust’s market share over time and enable us to better mitigate against market volatility and changing demand for investment styles. The Proposed Acquisition will lead to a step change in scale, with 12 funds having more than £1 billion of AuMA (two for Economic Advantage, one for Global Fundamental, four for Sustainable Investments, four for GAM Fixed Income and one for GAM Multi-Asset). 

Liontrust intends to rebrand all GAM funds as Liontrust as soon as possible after completion of the Proposed Acquisition and for the GAM business to operate under the Liontrust brand. 

The acquisition will enhance distribution globally and the opportunity to increase sales and market share. GAM is geographically diverse with 3,500 clients based in almost every continent, with 2,700 in Europe. Switzerland, Germany, Italy, the US, Iberia and Latin America are GAM’s largest markets outside the UK. 

Liontrust and GAM are both focused on providing excellent client service and the enlarged company will deliver engaging experiences for investors globally. 

The fund managers and other employees at GAM will benefit from the environment at Liontrust, the enhanced distribution, strong brand and marketing, and the resources of the enlarged company. 

John Ions, Chief Executive of Liontrust, says: “This is a significant acquisition that accelerates the growth of Liontrust through enhancing our distribution globally, product capability and investment talent.  

“Liontrust and GAM are both client centric businesses that thrive on providing solutions and first-class service. The enlarged company will provide the platform from which to deliver this to a broader client base. 

:We have been impressed by the quality of the investment teams at GAM. There is commonality in that Liontrust and GAM are both committed to independent and distinct processes for each of their investment teams. Liontrust specialises in providing an environment in which investment teams can thrive, including through the excellence of our sales and marketing and a robust business infrastructure, strong risk and compliance culture, and the stability that comes with financial strength. 

“Liontrust is committed to the international business and client relationships that GAM has built. We are especially pleased to have such a strong operation in Switzerland which has been so important to GAM’s heritage.  

“The quality of the investment teams across the different asset classes, the talent in the business and the breadth of the distribution at GAM, combined with Liontrust’s existing investment capability and strong brand, sales, marketing, and communications, gives me great confidence we will grow the enlarged business to create long-term value. 

“Liontrust and GAM will work together to provide a seamless transition for clients and enhancing the service provided in the future.” 

Peter Sanderson, CEO of GAM, says: “I am delighted we have agreed this transaction with Liontrust. Our distinctive approaches to investing and culture are closely aligned, and this combination represents the best opportunity for our talented team of professionals at GAM to continue to provide clients with high conviction active investment strategies. The resulting business will have a strong balance sheet, a broader array of excellent investment products, and a global distribution footprint from which to deliver growth that our shareholders can participate in the future.” 

David Jacob, Chairman of GAM, says “I would like to thank all my colleagues at GAM for their hard work and dedication while we worked to determine the best option for the future of the firm.  I am confident that the loyalty of our clients will be rewarded since they will now benefit from the increased capabilities and stability of the combined firm. Our shareholders have been patient, and I and my fellow Board members are unanimous in our recommendation that they should tender their shares in response to the offer from Liontrust.” 

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